"Every Falling Tear", Matt Hammitt - CD Review
On September 9, 2010, Bowen Hammitt was born to Matt and Sarah Hammitt. Born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (an undeveloped left side of his heart), Bowen had his first heart surgery four days later on September 13. One year to the day of the anniversary of that surgery, Sanctus Real lead singer Matt Hammitt releases Every Falling Tear, his first solo effort. What began as a cathartic experience and an effort to hearten his family has resulted in a captivating and affecting ten song cycle.
Hammitt noted that a major impetus for recording the songs was to give the music to families experiencing the loss of child or who were on the verge of losing a child. There is little doubt as to the theme of Every Falling Tear: faith in the face of uncertainty and loss. From first to last track, Hammitt is true to this theme, often referring specifically to his family’s personal journey. For the most part, though, the songs are written from a universal perspective so that any person wrestling within a season of despair can relate and take encouragement.
Every Falling Tear begins with “All of Me”, which confronts you immediately with Bowen’s plight and the family’s emotional journey. The simple rhythmic piano chords and sparse production are a fitting match to Hammitt’s heartfelt pledge to his son. It is difficult not to be moved when the first line delivers such genuine and raw emotion:
Afraid to love something that could break. Could I move on if you were torn away?
From beginning to end, the album is balanced and without a throwaway track. There are definitely stand-outs, though. “Let Go” confesses “I’ve got more questions than answers these days” and pleads for help to release control into God’s hands. “Let It Bring You Praise” conveys the assurance received in putting one’s faith in the Lord and the hope that all things will bring Him praise, even when He “chooses to take.”
Kudos to Hammitt for including Audrey Assad’s “Little Light” and for featuring her vocals on the track. It is a delicate and lifting song of hope inspired by the Global Night of Prayer, an event for Kate McCrae, a five-year-old girl from Phoenix, Arizona, who is battling a large brain tumor.
Musically, Every Falling Tear offers few surprises, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is well-crafted, contemporary Christian pop. Considering that the intent is to provide comfort and hope in dire circumstance, it is appropriate that the songs are a thoughtful mix of ballads and mid-tempo numbers. A four-on-the-floor rocker would be out of place. Without a lot of variation from song-to-song, however, some tracks fail to register the first (or second) listen. I doubt the target audience will complain.
Considering the adherence to theme, one could reasonably expect the album to become lyrically tedious. Thankfully, Hammitt and his co-writers prove adept at painting word pictures that are unique, compelling, and universal. Occasionally (though infrequently), a song will deliver a lyrical clunker that distracts and leaves you wishing they had drawn deeper from the well. For example, “There’s No Life Without You”, co-written with Assad, is an otherwise lovely song that hits you with the rather uninspired line, “Life without You is…like setting sail without a sea.”
Every Falling Tear is a sincere and remarkable collection that serves its purpose well – it provides much-needed encouragement to the soul struggling through a difficult season. Though the theme might suggest the album will appeal to a narrow audience, it is delivered inclusively and without a limiting or self-regarding perspective. This is an album that you will initially enjoy but perhaps not fully appreciate until you enter into such a period.
(100% of all profits from the album go directly to help families with children with life-threatening heart defects and disease through the Whole Hearts Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Hammitt and his wife. That having been said, buy two copies – one for yourself and one for a friend. They will be grateful for it.)Comment on Facebook Comment on Twitter
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