Release Date: 12/31/15
Entering the realm of Gospel music is newcomer Matt Mason, who proves he knows what it takes to craft an impressive debut album. What I Know explores the idea of knowing that God will give us the knowledge and strength to make it through any given situation.
The opening track, simply titled “Knowing,” aptly introduces the album. The first thing we hear is staccato piano, a few select guitar riffs woven throughout. Soon, the drum track enters the picture, the steady bass drum setting the tempo. We are then introduced to Matt’s smooth, velvety voice, asking “what do I know?” and confessing that he knows what he needs to know. The next track goes on to say that “Everything I Need” can be found in a relationship with Christ. Once again, the track opens with a strong piano intro. After a short breakdown, we get a taste of the strength and range of Matt’s voice.
“No Greater” recognizes that this life and things of this world are fleeting and that nothing could be greater than knowing and living our life for the Lord, the lyrics reminiscent of Ecclesiastes. This mid-tempo song ends with a fun mixed-meter section, light bells dancing above a strong bass line. “Godness” slows things down, beginning with Matt’s voice, a cappella, proclaiming that God is a good God. This is something to internalize and repeat, especially when we are going through the storms of life, and even when we question God with the very breath He put in our lungs. After a moment, Matt is joined by a chorus of strings, adding intensity to the song. The first verse ushers in a guitar, the delicate finger-picking pattern a perfect compliment to the lyrics.
Just past the halfway point on the record is “What I Know,” a brief interlude, with the piano employing a funky gospel groove and the lyrics simply repeating “what I know.” Next up is “Not Without You,” which starts out with a beautiful melody and gentle piano. The vocal harmonies on the chorus add such an incredible depth, and the song closes out with a majestic French horn solo. “Holding On” brings the energy level back up. This song expresses a willingness to let God teach us new things even if we don’t know what the future holds because we can hold on to what we do know about God’s character: His love and faithfulness. Adding a unique element is a kind of urban fugue towards the end of the song, all of the vocals done by Matt himself, the bass providing a solid foundation.
“Until Jesus Comes” is the sole cover on the record, and it truly allows Matt’s vocal talent to shine. The “What I Know (Remix)” adds a burst of energy before closing out the record, the organ providing a colorful canvas upon which the soaring voices make their mark. The final track, the mid-tempo “I Never Knew,” sends listeners off on a high note. The lyrics tie in all the themes from previous songs, concluding that even though we can’t know what circumstances will come our way, we always know that God is with us, protecting us and providing for us.
Overall, this is a solid debut album, with a few guest appearances, including Matt’s wife, Zuliakah. Matt touches on many real life topics that are sure to resonate with listeners. With slow ballads and funky up-tempo tracks, there is something for everyone. Hopefully this will not be the last we hear from this talented artist.