Monday, February 20, 2012
Matt Brouwer: Till the Sunrise Review
Matt Brouwer has certainly made a name for himself in the past decade. With just three albums previously released, Matt has already won several awards for his heart-felt and relatable music, including two GMA Canada Covenant Awards and a JUNO Award in 2010. Now, Matt is back with his fourth album on his self-created record label Black Stone Records. Titled Till the Sunrise, this record was shaped mostly by Matt’s recent marriage. Being with Hannah, Matt says, has caused him to view people with more compassion and realize the importance of companions. This is obvious, making Till the Sunrise not only relatable, but a sweet project as well.
Matt Brouwer speaks of his love for his wife through the title track, which opens the album with nice acoustic guitar and booming drums. Also with a catchy melody, this sweet love song speaks of a trip he took with his new wife to Hawaii, where they spent a night gazing at the starry sky and realized he never wanted this love to end. A little bit more mellow, but still nice, “Tonight” speaks of spiritual rebirth, realizing just how powerful the love is God. This track accentuates Matt’s soft yet mature vocals.
With a Gospel and country twang to it, “Thornside” is an awesome conceptual track, one of my favorites from Till the Sunrise. Not only did Matt’s vocals fit the track absolutely perfectly, the lyrics portray a fictional town of “Thornside,” where, based on 2 Corinthians 12, God’s grace is the only thing that can set us free from our thorns in the flesh. The soft and encouraging “Ocean” follows, borrowing lyrics from the “Peace Like a River” hymn. Its beauty makes it a track easy to hit repeat on.
“Everlasting,” Psalm 139 put to melody, sees Matt singing a bit higher, showing off his flexible vocals. But I also enjoyed this Scripture song – it’s always awesome to hear a pure song of Scripture. “One For Another” speaks of the importance of unity, as the track itself has a fun upbeat pop sound. They high vocals in the chorus are quite catchy: “One for another, love (I know that we can be together)…”
The acoustic “One in A Million,” with a light drumbeat celebrates the fact that God has saved one specific person just for us, while “Someone Else’s Arms” has a swing twist to it. With it’s peaceful Southern feel, it reminds us that even when we betray God, He will still be there to welcome us with open arms when we run back to Him.
“Wish You Were Here,” too is made of acoustic guitars, but does have more of a full sound to it. Written around Christmastime, it depicts how Matt Brouwer missed his wife Hannah badly when he was scheduled to play in New York City and flew without her. The track is very sweet, and easy to sense the loneliness in it. I wouldn’t be surprised if this track became an anthem for separated couples, as the track itself is generic and has sweet lines such as “I wish you were here to help my world make sense and to break down my defenses the way that only you can know/ ‘cause love has made the whole thing new and I am not complete without you/ I’ve just got to have you near, I wish you were here.”
“Love Can Find Away,” co-written with Dave and JJ Heller, actually features JJ Heller in background and supportive vocals. The powerful track features a bit of a waltz tempo, and speaks of how love can find a way to our heart no matter what the circumstances may be. Closing the album is “Outside, Inside,” a very sad yet relatable song, as it speaks of the depression and devastation over losing someone close.
I have to be honest – despite Matt Brouwer’s successes and several albums, Till the Sunrise is really the first time I’ve listened to the 31-year-old’s music, besides a radio single here and there. Till the Sunrise definitely made me a fan! Many songs are deeply worshipful, others are contemplative or sweet, and several take on Southern twists that are highly enjoyable. This is a great album!
Release date: February 28, 2012
1. Till the Sunrise
6. One For Another
7. One In A Million
8. Someone Else’s Arms
9. Wish You Were Here
10. Love Can Find A Way
11. Outside, Inside