#608 - "The Maker" by Chris August
Chris takes us into the deeply personal story of healing that shaped his raw latest album.

To capture the most authentic sound and emotion possible, Chris August and producer Ed Cash decided to track Chris's third and most recent studio album The Maker live, resulting in a studio recording which channels the energy and worshipful vibe that one experiences seeing Chris in concert. I recently had that opportunity to worship with Chris at Night of Joy in Disney World. If you've never had the chance to see Chris perform a full set of his songs, don't miss him the next time he is in your area.
These new songs are a wonderful return from one of my favorite singer-songwriters, as they are all straight from the heart of someone who has experienced what it means to walk in the valley as well as the mountaintop, after a head injury from his skateboarding accident left Chris addicted to pain killers and dealing with depression as he weaned off of them. His need for Jesus is urgently and sincerely expressed in song after song, and his awe of his Maker is beautifully captured in the title track. I had the chance to speak with my friend and brother in Christ about "The Maker," which was our seventh "behind the song" devotional discussion.
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

This album means the most to me by far, and I think it was because of where I was at in my life. After my skateboarding accident and the release of my last album in April 2012, I was on pain medications, and after four months had passed and I was trying to get off of those medications, I was getting sick, and my body was totally addicted to the pain killers. It wasn't an emotional thing, but my body was so used to the medication because I had to take it so often.
When I finally weaned myself off the pain killers, I was acting weird, I guess, and a couple of my friends told me I should see a counselor. I went and saw a counselor, and he said I should see a psychologist. That's never good when a counselor says that to you. Basically, I was diagnosed with depression and had to get on more medication, and had side effects from all of these medications. I had a pill box like my Grandpa used to have, and it was the size of a laptop, and I was taking all of these pills. That was right before Christmas, 2012.
Fast forward to the spring of 2013. I was on tour with Big Daddy Weave and about 3 months in, I'm feeling foggy and loopy but I guess it is getting the job done, and I'm seeing on the tour all of these people getting healed. We were praying for people after each show. I was watching Mike Weaver pray with people, and I was watching the chains break, and I thought "this is so awesome!" One night I was sitting there on the bus and thought "wait a second, I want to be healed!" I was taking all this medication, and dealing with depression, and I couldn't sleep, so I took medication for that. I was tired of taking all of these pills, and I believed the Lord could heal me. I decided I was done taking pills, asked the Lord to heal me, and I was just going to walk in the healing.
The next day I started reading the Bible, and I'm not exaggerating, for hours every day. I was praying, and the next day I didn't take one more pill, and I haven't since. That's where the writing process started, right in that moment. The first song I wrote is called "He's Still Here." That song was about seeing the Lord literally heal me. I just started walking in it. His miracles were not just for 2000 years ago. He's still moving and healing.
That's where it started, and it was a huge aspect of how I wanted this album to sound. I was thinking of doing another over-produced, polished pop record, but then I thought "the last thing I want to do is make a polished sounding album, as that's the last thing I feel right now." I went to the label and said "I want to track the whole album live in the studio. Press record, and we'll perform the songs," and that's what we did.
I started writing songs more geared with that in my mind. "The Maker" is like you said, the thesis for this album. It is everything coming together, and this song means so much because it blows my mind, to think about some of the lines of the song, like "I can't believe You live inside of me."
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Psalm 95:6 (NKJV): "Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker."

Psalm 124:8 (VOICE): "Our help has come in the name of the Eternal, the Maker of heaven and earth!"

Psalm 115:15 (VOICE): "May the blessings of the Eternal, Maker of heaven and earth, be on you."
1 Peter 2:9 (NKJV): "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
What is the takeaway message?

It blows my mind to think that the One who painted the stars in the sky and created everything would heal me. I'm suffering through depression, and yet with the touch of His hand and His breath in my lungs, I'm healed. To me song after song, including the funky sounding song you mentioned "Muddy Waters," when you look at the lyrics, I'm talking about my depression. I'm talking about how I was taking these pills, and I'm not saying to everyone: "stop taking your pills." It's about praying for healing. I asked the Lord to heal me, I dove into His Word, and I dove into the Holy Spirit like I never had before, and I didn't even realize what I was missing out on.
It changed my life, and I want people to see that they shouldn't settle for the temporary fix. Don't settle for anything less than what God has for you. His healing not only took depression away from me, but changed me in many different amazing and awesome ways that I'm grateful for. In thinking about being grateful, I wrote this song "The Maker" with my friend Ed Cash. With my first song being "Starry Night," I love nature and God's creation. When we were writing this song, I remember Ed and I singing the song together. I loved what it says. We have songs that say "I love You Lord, and I lift my voice," but to think that not only do we love The Maker, but that The Maker loves me, is an awesome reminder. He does love us.
I see You in the sunrise
I see You in the rain
I see You in the laughter
I feel You through the pain

Everything that You have made is beautiful
Oh, my God, I can't believe my eyes
But in all of this to think that You would think of me
Makes my heart come alive

Your love is like a mighty fire deep inside my bones
I feel like I could climb a thousand mountains all at once
And I never have to wonder if somebody cares for me
I love the Maker
And the Maker loves me

I see You, You are creation
I see the grandness of Your majesty
The universe is singing all Your glory
I can't believe You live inside of me

Everything that You have made is beautiful
Oh, my God, I can't believe my eyes
But in all of this to think that You would think of me
Makes my heart come alive

Your love is like a mighty fire deep inside my bones
I feel like I could climb a thousand mountains all at once
And I never have to wonder if somebody cares for me
I love the Maker
And the Maker loves me

More than just some Words upon a page
You've shown me in a million ways
But there is One that stands above them all
Hands of creation on a Cross

Your love is like a mighty fire deep inside my bones
I feel like I could climb a thousand mountains all at once
And I never have to wonder if somebody cares for me
I love The Maker
And The Maker loves me

He loves me
He loves me
Yes, He does
The Maker
I'm loved by The Maker
And The Maker loves me

It is interesting to me that someone who was signed to a major record label and achieved what America considers success-- living in LA and playing sold-out venues-- is truly reaching out and making it clear that he's broken, giving his life to Jesus in his songs. We all need to be unashamed of our faith in Jesus, and we all need to be bold in expressing our faith. We do friends and family members who aren't believers a disservice when we don't fully share the Gospel.
Chris's story is also my story, and anyone struggling with the balance of life and faith can truly relate to the incredible messages of his songs. They only grow deeper with each listen— my favorite type of album.
"The Maker" is just a foretaste of what I consider to be Chris August's best overall album, and is a thesis statement deeply rooted in the Word of God, which is how Chris was inspired to write these songs and come out of darkness and deep depression into "His marvelous light."
Having celebrated Easter, knowing that God's Holy Word is true and Jesus is Risen, I am very moved by Chris's "Unashamed of You" proclamation of Truth: "More than just some Words upon a page, You've shown me in a million ways, But there is One that stands above them all, Hands of creation on a Cross." Amen to that!

(Watch the music video here.)


NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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