We knew Maher could play, but this song blew us away.
Just one verse each day.
It don’t have a job
It don’t pay your bills
Won’t buy you a home in Beverly Hills
Won’t fix your life
In five easy steps
Ain’t the law of the land
Or the government
But it’s all you need
We’ve been fans of Matt Maher’s for years and we’ve heard a lot of his music, but we’ve never heard him play or sing as brilliantly as he did on this live recording of “Hold Us Together,” released in 2016.
From the very first flourish on the keys our attention was rapt. The tune starts off sounding like it could be a reworked Jerry Lee Lewis song. Maher sings the first line so deep we had to double check that this was really him, then his voice jumps up the octave to let his crisp tenor ring.
While his vocal line — which exhibits not only an exceptional range, but also an intensity that Maher usually reserves — is fantastic, the part that had our jaws on the floor was the incredible way he plays the piano, all the while singing.
Of course, we knew that Maher played piano, but the focus of his music is usually on the lyrics and the prayerful elements. Here, however, Maher lets loose and displays such incredible skill that we can’t stop playing the song on repeat.
Each moment of this brilliant performance had us more excited than the last, but when he goes into the “First day of the rest of your life,” which is broken by a thrilling piano solo, we had to stop and rewind several times before we could let it finish. Maher has an incredibly light touch on the keys and makes virtuoso-level passages seem effortless.
In an interview with New Release Today, Maher explained that he wrote the song in about half an hour, referencing Matthew 6:25 and Revelation 3:20 in the lyrics. He went on to say the he was inspired to write the song after a plane ride from Phoenix to Nashville. He said:
… I remember the plane was almost completely empty. It was at a time when there was much concern about keeping the economy afloat. I found myself thinking, “Is this what it’s going to look like if enough people lose their jobs?” So I was just praying for people who were becoming homeless and jobless and what would I say — what could the Church say? The next day I wrote this song with Steve Wilson in about 30 minutes. It was really a very simple desire to have a song that would reach into people’s lives with a compelling message.