Multiple Grammy-nominated, Dove Award-winning Sanctus Real lead vocalist Matt Hammitt released his first solo album, Every Falling Tear in 2011. Organically sparked by the rich joy and pain of life over a challenging year that strengthened Hammitt’s faith and solidified his resolve to lead his family well, these new songs are deeply personal.
Encouraged by his Sanctus Real band mates to release these tracks and to share his story through the songs that are meant to provide hope for people that are in crisis, Hammitt’s journey to Every Falling Tear started with the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Sanctus Real album, Pieces Of A Real Heart. With songs like “Redeemer,” “Keep My Heart Alive," “Dear Heart,” and “Lead Me,” the whole album become a prophetic glimpse into what the Hammitts were about to go through, and proved to be a source of hope as Matt and his wife, Sarah, took care of Bowen, the “small victorious one,” who was born Sept. 9, 2010 and went through two heart surgeries, an infection, and other complications since being born.
Born out of the heart of a father wrestling with his pain, but buoyed by his faith and love for his family, Matt’s main impetus for writing the songs on Every Falling Tear was to play them at Bowen’s bedside in the hospital, with the hope that they would be a source of comfort for his family, as well as a reminder of God’s faithfulness in the midst of their uncertainty.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Every Falling Tear and its singles go to benefit the Whole Hearts Foundation, a foundation Hammitt has set up to help families going through similar challenges as himself.
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Broken and Beautiful| Posted September 07, 2011
Songwriting can be used in many ways. To encourage, to enlighten, or, in Matt Hammitt’s case, to work as a form of therapy. In 2010, the longtime Sanctus Real frontman and his wife Sarah, were delighted to hear they were expecting their third child, a boy, but that delight was soon turned to despair when they discovered their son was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a case in which he’d be born with only half a heart. Of all the heart defects, HLHS is the most deadly, and doctors gave the Hammitt’s the grim news that there was a chance their son may not survive.
Faced with every parents worst nightmare, Matt’s faith was tested over the course of his wife’s pregnancy, but having already overcome numerous challenges as a family, this was not a battle they were going to back down from without a fight. Over the course of the next several months, Matt’s songwriting became a conduit in which he could express himself freely, to God and to his family.
In September of 2010, their son, Bowen, meaning “small, victorious one”, was born. And nearly one year and two open heart surgeries later, Bowen has defied all the doctor’s odds of survival. He is a happy one-year-old boy who is a living example of God moving in the midst of prayer.
Having complied a handful of songs during this trying season of his life, Matt was encouraged by his Sanctus Real band mates to release these songs to the public and share the story of how he not only overcame his fears for the worst, but how his faith was strengthened through the aptly titled, Every Falling Tear.
The album starts off with the heart-wrenching “All Of Me”, an anthem in which Matt promises to love his son with all his heart, and not with the fear he might lose him. It gives you the automatic feel of what this family went though during the first several months of Bowen’s life, and offers the message that no fear can overshadow the power of love. “Holding You” is a song written for Sarah, as a reminder to cling to Christ even when things get tough.
“Let Go”, a song co-penned by Joy Williams of The Civil Wars fame, talks of walking by faith even when we can’t see the outcome of our circumstance, while “Trust” follows up on that idea, by bringing to remembrance all the times God has been faithful in the past, and how because of His faithfulness, we need to continually place our trust in Him.
“You Are My Treasure” is the shifting song on the album, in which the listener begins to immerge from the valley and into the light. It’s a beautiful song of praise, referring to Jesus as our treasure in life. I hope to hear it as a radio single in the future. “Without You” shares the message of how we sometimes only look at the big miracles in life and pay little attention to the small ones. Ultimately reminding us that every day of life is a miracle itself, and walking with Jesus is what gives that life a purpose.
The lyrically stunning “Let It Bring You Praise” is my favorite track on the entire record, comparing our lives to a page in a story God is writing. A page in which our lives are made for a reason, and that’s to bring him praise: “before I was born, You numbered my days, the story is Yours, I’m just a page, with every word, I wanna proclaim, let my life proclaim, let it bring You praise…”
“Little Light” and “I Couldn’t Love You More” serve as two soothing lullabies written to Matt’s three children, “Little Light” featuring and outstanding appearance by female vocalist Audrey Assad. The album finally comes to a close with the uplifting “This Is Grace”, a song bringing the theme of this project full circle, reminding the listener that the reason for suffering is to give God the platform to move mightily in our lives.
This album as a whole serves as a 10 song progression from darkness to light. Beginning in the pit of the darkest valley, and ending at the sunrise of the highest mountain. Every Falling Tear is a lyrical masterpiece, and by far some of Matt Hammitt’s strongest songwriting to date. I was blown away by the transparency found in these lyrics, and absolutely breath taken by how a song so simple could be so powerful. Musically, this isn’t the upbeat pop/rock style of music Sanctus Real fans have gotten used to over the years, but I think that’s what sets this project apart. This is hands down one of the top 10 Christian albums of the year and one longtime fans of the band and beyond will NOT want to miss. I speak for many when I say it has been a privilege to hear how the Hammitt family’s story has unfolded over this last year, and their continuing platform to bring hope to the hurting is sure to leave a legacy we won’t soon forget.
Matt Hammitt:| Posted September 18, 2011
You may know Matt Hammitt as the lead singer of successful rock band Sanctus Real, but with Every Falling Tear he goes solo as he shares the story of the struggles he and his wife Sarah had to endure during the birth of their song Bowen. Bowen, whose name means "small victorious one" was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which meant that only half of his heart had developed. Doctors were not even sure that Bowen would be even born. After months of prayer, Bowen was successfully delivered into the world in September 2010. Bowen had defied the odds, and God had performed a miracle. Every Falling Tear (released exactly one year after Bowen's miraculous heart surgery) is a collection of poignant songs that follow the struggles of the Hammitt family during this time, and the growth in Matt's faith as he learned to completely trust in God throughout these struggles.
Every Falling Tear opens up with the first single "All of Me", beginning with haunting piano and featuring guitar work that resembles U2, a track that reflects Matt's decision to give up his fear of losing his son in order to recklessly love him. "You're gonna know all my love/even if it's not enough/enough to mend our broken hearts/but giving you all of me /is where I'll start." The following songs "Holding You" and "Let Go" are written about surrender. The latter of these two songs follows the story of wife Sarah's struggles during the time before Bowen's birth, offering an encouraging reminder to the listener that"In these hard times/it's not in what you hold onto/it's in the one who's holding you tonight." Co-written with Joy Williams, "Let Go" features beautiful piano, as it speaks of letting go of our troubles and handing them over to God, and trusting that he is in control of everything.
The acoustic guitar driven "Trust" was written during the time of Bowen's heart surgery, when Matt struggled to believe that any good could come out of the situation. This song offers an encouraging reminder that God has always been faithful to us in the past, and we need to continually place our trust in him. Lyrically, "You Are My Treasure" is a beautiful worship ballad that encourages the listener to make Jesus their treasure. "Without You" speaks of our need for God in our lives, saying that life without Him would be meaningless and incomplete.
Lyrically, "Let It Bring You Praise" is the strongest track on the record. This song is an emotional prayer from Matt, as it reflects his heartfelt desire to let everything he does bring glory to God. "Before I was born/You numbered my days /the story is yours /I'm just a page /with every word /I want to proclaim /let my life proclaim." "Little Light", featuring incredible guest vocals from Audrey Assad, is another one of the highlights from the album. It is a peaceful lullaby dedicated to Matt's children, giving a sweet reminder that God is always watching over them. "I Couldn't Love You More" follows in much the same manner, a comforting reminder that Jesus loves us more than we can ever imagine. Every Falling Tear comes to a close with "This Is Grace", a song that re-centres around the album's theme, saying that the reason for our suffering is so God can be enabled to move in and work freely in our lives.
There's no doubt that Every Falling Tear is certainly an emotional record! I was thoroughly pleased with this album, because not only does Matt emphasise the difficult times he faced during Bowen's condition, he also shares how much he grew in faith in spite of this tough situation. Be sure to keep some tissues nearby as you listen to a truly inspiring project filled with songs of comfort, hope and redemption, and a strong reminder that God has the power to make good out of any circumstance!