Although singer-songwriter Matt Maeson is on his first headlining tour that sold out in two weeks, he says his best performances were not on a stage, but in prisons.
At 17, Maeson joined his parents work in their prison ministry to perform for inmates. “It’s a way to reach out to the people in their darkest times in their life. I wanted to reach out and show they have a life to live and they have something to look forward to.”
“Playing music for people who feel they don’t deserve anything makes me feel like I’m doing something positive.”
Through his music and shows, Maeson says, “I want my fans to feel understood. They connect with the music and the shows to feel uplifted and understood and empowered.” Maeson is performing Wednesday, May 15, at Valley Bar to promote his latest album “Bank on the Funeral.”
Maeson says the album walks through the light and dark parts of his life, and using positive moments to work through the hard times. Maeson pulled songs from various parts in his life.“It’s a journey through my thought process from the past 10 years.”
The album title comes from the last track on the album. The song talks about when his uncle was murdered, and Maeson being on the edge between life and death, hence “Bank on the Funeral.”
“I was suicidal and on a ton of drugs it was like ‘Bank on the Funeral’ because I was on the verge of death.”
All of the songs are special to Maeson, but“Bank on the Funeral” was a song that stuck out to him during the writing process.“I grew up in church and I’m a very faith-filled man, it takes me to that bible verse(Matthew 5:29-30).”
The bible verse says, “(29) If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (30) And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” Maeson says it’s about getting rid of the bad influences in life and staying on a strong, faith-focused path.
All of Maeson’s songs were written on acoustic guitar, and the rest of the instruments built around that. The songs on the album were produced by his friend James Flanagan, “We wanted to go as organic as possible, not stressing for some sound, just letting it happen naturally.”
The same goes for Maeson’s songwriting. “It’s a very therapeutic thing, I try not to force it. It’s just me sitting down and playing some chords and thinking about what I’m feeling and then going from there.”
I think the songs are what I need to say and what people need to hear,” Maeson says. He hopes people can connect to his lyrics in their own way. “There are times when somebody said something or a specific song touched me in a way.” For his album, he understands fans are not going to have the same feelings he does, but people are still able to connect with his honest lyrics.
Maeson says the whole point of music is for people to feel understood. He wants to continue finding light within the darkness in his life. “It inspires me to do everything I can while I’m breathing because every breath can be my last.”
Matt Maeson with Betcha, The Valley Bar, 130 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, valleybarphx.com, 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, sold out.