The Murray Hill Theatre
932 Edgewood Avenue S
Jacksonville, FL 32205
7:00 p.m. Thursday, April 11, 2013
Great music hinges on compelling writing, honest delivery, a refined, unique musical identity. Great leadership hinges on openness, compassion, devotion. Singer-songwriter and worship leader Matt Maher has built his career – his life – on striving to embody those ideals. Matt Maher the songwriter cemented his respected reputation penning songs with Chris Tomlin, Michael W. Smith, Matt Redman, Passion (“Here For You”), Audrey Assad and Jars of Clay. The heart of Matt Maher the worship leader has shown through clearly over years spent teaching, sharing and praying all over the world, including appearances at the Papal Rally in NYC, World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, and extensive touring over the past 5 years, with the likes of Michael W. Smith, Leeland, Phil Wickham, Jars of Clay, Third Day, Tenth Avenue North and Mercy Me, bringing him in front of more than three million people. With the September 20 release of The Love in Between, Matt Maher the artist -- fully defined, fully formed -- steps fully into the foreground. His third national release on Essential Records shows Maher finding his voice both sonically and lyrically, the rootsy pop aesthetic he introduced on 2010 hit “Hold Us Together” (from 2009’s Alive Again) flowing into a 12-song study of suffering, grace, redemption and hope. Those ideas coalesce particularly in “Heaven and Earth,” The Love in Between track that inspired the album’s title. The song contemplates “the distance between us and our humanity and God and his divinity,” Maher says. “There is only one thing that bridges that gap and essentially annihilates it, and that is Jesus. He is the love in between sin and freedom, death and life and hopelessness and hope.” Maher’s focus grows out of that idea, centering less on distance and more on the bridging of it. The leadoff single “Turn Around,” which debuted at No. 28 on the NAC chart a week ahead of its add date, explores the ways in which Jesus embodied that broad embrace, anchored by the refrain, “If you’re lost and need to be found/ If you’re looking for a savior/ All you gotta do is turn around.” “If you look back over history, specifically around the time Jesus was physically here in the flesh, humanity has struggled with pride, resulting in a subculture that, while having the best of intentions, ends up marginalizing the people who are most in need of God,” Maher says. “However, Jesus came offering a message of repentance for all who would be willing to receive it. Those on the outside and on the inside of the Church.” The six-time GMA Dove Award nominee also recognizes that he’s a living example of the value in shedding boundaries, be they perceived or physical. Raised Catholic in Newfoundland, Canada, he was inspired to pen “Woke Up In America,” a personal and patriotic anthem on The Love in Between. Maher shares, “The song is really about the story of the individual as an allegory for the story of a nation and its struggle to find freedom and identity.” The Love in Between’s release comes during a time of many big new developments for Maher. The new husband and his wife Kristin welcomed their first son, Conor, in early August; in early September, he’ll launch the first in a series of headlining tours hosted by his newly formed organization Comm+Unity, which will support multiple local, national and international non-profit efforts. Maher headlines the first jaunt, which kicks off in Texas and runs through to the West Coast (including a Gilbert, Ariz., album release show on September 20), with support from one sonic society (Jason Ingram, Stu G., Paul Mabury) and Integrity artist All Sons & Daughters (David Leonard, Leslie Jordan). Throughout October, he’ll headline the newly launched, month-long, “Compassion International Presents: The Love In Between Tour,” a partnership with Compassion International and Christian radio featuring Laura Story and Essential Records newcomer Andy Cherry. To close out the year, Maher will join Mercy Me on the “Rock & Worship Road Show” before spending the Christmas and New Years holidays with his family in Arizona. Not any of this has happened overnight. It’s taken four years of non-stop touring and several more focused on writing and recording, to yield four Top 200 CCLI songs over six years and more than 275,000 in sales of his independent and Essential Records titles to reach the clarity Maher has funneled into The Love in Between. Mike Snider of Paradigm Talent Agency figures that’s built Maher not just into a marquee name, but one with staying power. He notes, “In addition to his sales and songwriting placements, Matt has stepped to the plate as a hard-ticket-selling, headlining artist, who is going to help shape and re-define touring as we know it.” Matt Kees, Director of the Christian Musician Summit, concurs. “Matt Maher is a great fit for us at the Christian Musician Summit – he has the ability to reach people on a variety of levels at our conferences and we’re excited to see how he’s made the steady climb into an impactful and enduring artist who people want to see. Not only is Matt a well-trained and accomplished keyboardist and guitarist, he is a top-notch songwriter, and a well respected lead worshiper with years and years of ministry experience. Matt can teach, perform and relate to Christian musicians and fans.” Maher, always ready to share the music and the Gospel offers, “At the end of the day, I’m just thankful to be in a place where I get to share the music I was inspired to write. It’s been a great road and I’m looking forward to sharing the songs from The Love In Between with friends and fans everywhere.” Chris August
Chris August has struck a balance in a beautiful tension. The soulful singer-songwriter who cites influences from Stevie Wonder to Boyz II Men accepts the call to speak the truth and pour every ounce of his being into his music, without taking himself too seriously. This equilibrium is evident on the award-winning artist’s new record, The Upside of Down. At 3 p.m. on April 25, 2012, August woke up in a hospital bed with no idea where he was or how he had gotten there. A plastic band hugged his wrist, and an IV poked out from the skin on his arm. Utterly confused, August looked up to meet the eyes of a friend who told him he’d been in a serious skateboarding accident the day before. “It’s the weirdest feeling I’ve ever had in my entire life,” says the easygoing musician, occasionally laughing in disbelief as he tries to describe what it’s like to forget an entire day of your life – and a frightfully eventful one at that. August remembers looking at potential covers for his new album with friends on April 24th. What he doesn’t remember is hopping on his electric skateboard on a street he’d boarded hundreds of times, hitting a patch of gravel in an unmarked construction site, flying from his board, being knocked unconscious and later being rushed to the hospital for a bruised, bleeding and swelling brain injury. After a CT scan, doctors told the 30-year-old that there was a 50 percent chance the swelling would continue, requiring a very serious surgery that sometimes leaves its patients relearning basic functions—like how to walk. Thankfully, though, the swelling went down, and August was able to return home a week later and recover. Even in the wake of that trauma, August is good-natured and able to make light of certain moments along the way, especially the conversations he had in the hospital, which he now forgets – like trying to convince a friend to escape with him in the middle of the night. August’s new record, The Upside of Down, is due out on August 21, less than four months after his accident. The record explores the beauty of God’s omnipresence and abiding love, and the lead single, “Center Of It,” points to God’s promise to be with His people in the midst of the highs and lows of our lives. Joking that he should have prophesied something more optimistic, August describes “The Upside of Down,” written with his co-producer Ian Eskelin (Francesca Battistelli, Jason Castro), as revealing the truth that God is with us both in the beauty and the brokenness. “It shows God’s character and His grace that He has for us,” August explains. “God loves us despite the mistakes we make. He’s there with us no matter what.” And while the title track and “Center Of It” would seem to have emerged from the story of his recent incident, August penned both songs long before he ever thought of buying an electric skateboard. Both gained new significance, however, when he returned home from the hospital to begin the humbling healing process. Sitting down in his studio to listen through the most recent mixes of the record, August was inundated with poignant reminders of God’s faithfulness pouring out of his songs and reminding him that he wasn’t alone, even in his own highs and lows. The Upside of Down isn’t August’s first break into the music industry by any means. His Fervent Records debut, 2010’s No Far Away, cemented his name in the Christian music world and earned the Texas native the coveted titles of “New Artist of the Year,” “Male Vocalist of the Year” and “Pop Contemporary Album of the Year” at the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards. That record also spawned the massively popular radio single “Starry Night,” which held the No.1 spot on Billboard’s Christian / AC chart for six consecutive weeks and was the first debut single to reach No.1 on that chart in more than three years. When he was just 22, August cut his teeth in the mainstream industry working with names like Ryan Cabrera, Brian McKnight, Robin Thicke and Babyface and signing with Geffen Records while being managed by Jessica and Ashlee Simpson’s father, Joe Simpson. He toured with and opened for Ashlee, and it was on one of those tours that he finally decided to leave Los Angeles. He’d been living there for three years and felt it was time to head back to Texas and his Christian music roots by leading worship at his church. Just months later, in January of 2009, August was sitting in his room writing “Starry Night,” an anthem to the God who had rekindled something now burning within him. “It was really late at night, and was during the time when I had been getting back involved in church in Dallas,” he remembers. “I wrote the whole song that night and recorded it, produced it and put it on an independent record.” When an A&R rep at Word Records heard that recording, August ended up with a deal and made the move to Nashville. He co-produced No Far Away with celebrated producer Ed Cash (Dave Barnes, Steven Curtis Chapman), exploring the depths of his love for writing and producing. Now, the self-taught pianist and keyboardist is coming back to his rootsier side with The Upside of Down, letting some of his more soulful, R&B influences take the spotlight. “Anytime I play live, I do these stylized versions of the songs on my record, and people are always saying, ‘Why don’t you sing like that on your album?’” he muses. “After hearing that suggestion multiple times, I started thinking, ‘Well, now that you say that, maybe I will.’” An enthusiastic Stevie Wonder fan, August’s gospel music influences are especially clear on his record on songs like the groove-heavy “Amen.” With titles like “Restore,” “Let There Be Light,” “I Believe” and “A Little More Jesus,” the songs on The Upside of Down see August turning to traditional gospel themes, capturing their enduring truths with his pen while infusing them with the new energy of his pop-laden yet grippingly expressive sound. When it came time to mix the project, August knew the exact patina he wanted, and he didn’t settle for anything less. Though it was a pipe dream at the time, he reached out to his favorite mix engineer – LA-based Neal Avron (Fall Out Boy, Sara Bareilles), who has been behind tons of pop records. Avron mixed the entire album, rounding out the songs just the way August had envisioned them when he was still in the writing room. When it’s all said and done, the musically meticulous artist who sees each of his songs from the initial writing phase to the fully orchestrated, mixed and mastered track, says his primary hope as a songwriter is to write and produce songs that people relate to, songs that meet them where they are and offer something in that interaction. “I’m not veering from that,” he insists. “At the end of the day, sure it’d be awesome if I could sell a lot of records and have some success just from the business side of it. That’d be great, but what good is all that if I’m not reaching people and encouraging them to live for something greater than themselves?” Bellarive
In the summer of 2009, the Lord gifted a unified vision to the hearts of six friends from Orlando Florida. That vision quickly developed into the atmospheric worship band now known as Bellarive. Their heart is to craft artistic worship music for the creation to sing straight to the Father above. Bellarive believes that God is calling them to lead these songs not just inside the four walls of a church, but to whoever will lend an ear. Band member Sean Curran says it this way, "The Creator is continuously stirring the souls of all His children toward Himself. We believe that God creates His children with specific design to reveal and bring glory to Himself in unique ways. For the six of us, that gift is creating music." The band believes there to be a beautiful relationship between Spirit and sound, and expresses that connection through their worship individually and corporately. Melissa Mage states, "We pray that we would be the conduit between the Creator and His creation and that His glory would always be the focal point." Bellarive travels throughout the year leading for churches, colleges, missions groups, conferences, camps and concerts. They've just begun work on their first full-length album. You can preview and purchase their current EP "The Being Human Project…Start Listening" by clicking on the Music tab.
$12.00 - $18.00