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Clap along to Matt Maher’s “What a Friend”

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His album 'Echoes' was inspired by hymns.

What a friend we have in Jesus
East to west my sins are gone
I see grace on every horizon
And forever and ever His heart is my home

Released on his 2017 album Echoes, Matt Maher’s “What a Friend” is still standing strong on Billboard’s Christian charts at #12. For the single, Maher switches gears from quiet worship to bouncing folk-rock, with a country-pop hook. The piece is infused with a jubilant energy, which is aided by a perfectly employed gospel-ish choir.

Maher found inspiration for much of Echoes from old hymns, and he wrote the album in response to modern suffering. He told The Christian Beat:

“So many of the hymns that inspired these songs were written by people experiencing their own profound suffering,” explains Maher. “I think the truths that were written so many years ago in these hymns apply to the suffering humanity is going through right now – whether something personal or on a global level with natural disasters, immigration or persecution.”

Of the entire album, Maher has stated:

“My hope is that it helps them reframe how they’re looking at life in the current age. And from a worldview and a lens that’s more optimistic, it’s more focused on declaring God’s faithfulness, rather than just being fixated on how broken the world is. I think it empowers them to be able to do that, even in the midst of suffering. Many of the songs really are sort of a response to different aspects of suffering, and so my hope is that would inspire people in their response to whatever hardships they find themselves or their families going through, or their communities going through.”

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