Matt Thien
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Matt Thien

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"Conyers musician debuts CD"

By Beth Sexton
Staff Correspondent

Not a bad way to start. Conyers musician Matt Thien will debut his first CD in two weeks following collaboration with Grammy Award-winning producer Mitch Dane and Jars of Clay guitarist Steve Mason, along with songwriter Randall Goodgame. Area residents can get their first taste of "Desert Dry" when Thien presents a concert May 3 in Olde Town.

Thien, along with four other Christian artists will be in concert at Club 908 in Conyers, with doors opening at 6 p.m. and music starting at 7. Tickets are $10 at the door, or $5 for high school and college students.

This is an exciting time for the former naval flight officer, who is now an ROTC instructor at Morehouse College in Atlanta. While he is proud to serve his country, Thien says he "gets passionate" about his music. It is a passion he has enjoyed since the age of 16.

Born in Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, where his father was stationed with the Marines, Thien and his family moved three months later to Okinawa, Japan. His father served there for three years, then moved his family to New York where he completed his college education, then went back into the military as an officer. The family moved several more times, finally landing in Woodbridge, Va.

"That is where I pretty much would call home," he said. "I went to half of middle school and all of high school (there). I picked up my first guitar there in 1996. I was 16.

"My mom was sick for a very long time. We weren"t a churchgoing family and my mom was chronically ill, so she turned to God because there was no answer."

His mother asked her son to go to church with her and he did, but it was the girl he met in a green sundress that made him want to keep coming back. He talks about her today and says they became friends, but his interest soon turned to music and living for God.

Thien met the church"s youth pastor, whose wife played the guitar and the young man fell in love with the music.

"I started playing guitar when I decided I was going to live for Jesus, live for God," Thien said. "It"s interesting I"m doing this now. I"m seeing a lot of fruit, seeing a lot of blessings. When I was 16, I say I got sucked into church by a girl, but I think that was the plan. I accepted God"s grace and his son Jesus and immediately wanted to learn how to play the guitar."

His talent grew and Thien began leading his youth group in worship. He played in a band called One Tenth in high school and the group played at local parties.

"It was so cheesy," he now says with a laugh. "I put in the recording the other day "Those were funny days."

His love of music never waned and as he began school at Mars Hill College near Asheville, N.C., he continued to play guitar and take part in local bands.

"I was immediately the guy on campus who played guitar and led worship," Thien said. "Josiah"s Reform was the name of the band I was in. We had a girl drummer and she was probably the most talented of all of us. We all grew and that band did its thing and then we broke up."

His next band was called Gershom, a pop-rock band that traveled along the east coast playing venues along the way.

"The experiences in that band in college drove me to do what I"m doing today," Thien said. "I promised myself if I were ever to get into music again, I would be solo. No one is ever as committed as you are. I love the intimacy of a stool and the simplicity of an acoustic guitar."

Thien says he contacted Dane on a "whim" and sent him a demo tape of his work.

"You send out that kind of stuff often as a musician and a dreamer," he said, adding that when he contacted Dane after sending him a tape, the Grammy winning producer said he "felt an odd tug" to work with Thien.

That work has now grown into "Desert Dry," in which Thien uses his songs to offer hope to all generations. He explains that he "exposes the conflict and juxtaposition that is embedded deep in the hearts of many MySpace-saturated, text-message-laden, Barack-Obama-campaigning young professionals."

Thien says "Desert Dry" is an eclectic blend of upbeat ballads and pop beats that reflect "nuances both timely and refreshing; uncertainty and love, exhibitionism and vulnerability, joy and anxiety." He adds that he believes the "lackluster attitudes portrayed by Christians today contribute to the mediocre feeling of the world about Christ." Thien says he is "determined to change that world one song at a time."

Meanwhile, as he prepares for the release of his first CD, and continues his work as an ROTC instructor, Thien is also awaiting the birth of his second child. He and wife, Christie have been married for seven years and are the parents of 3 "-year-old Baylee with her baby brother or sister due at the end of August. The family is active in Trinity Baptist Church in Conyers where Thien plays the guitar and says he brings "the contemporary flair. I"m the serious right-hand man."

"If this grows and I become more popular, I"m serious about giving back and helping people along," Thien says of his career in music. "My whole motto is what can I do for other people; not what can other people do for me. In the music world, it"s "promote me, me, me." I"m taking the opposite route"I have been tremendously blessed in doing that and people wanting to team up with me. It"s been really powerful."

Thien has invited several opening acts to perform at his May 3 concert, including Stefan Cashwell, Daniel Lee, Constant Perpetual Bliss and Matthew Eldridge of Conyers. In addition, he has teamed up with Choose A Need, a nonprofit started by two of his college friends who married, became doctors and started an organization to help those who are suffering and in need. Twenty percent of Thien"s CD sales go to Choose A Need.

For more information about Thien or the upcoming concert, visit his websites at or - The Citizen

"Music Review: Desert Dry, by Matt Thien"

Desert Dry, by Matthew Thien. Produced by Mitch Dane. In conjunction with Steve Mason. Copyright Matt Thien, 2008.

There is a great debate as to whether or not art is merely the product of our own ideas, reality, and imagination, or if art informs and inspires how we see reality, and in turn transforms how we see ourselves, others, and the world. No doubt this debate will confound thinkers in this era and in those to come; however, what rings true is that art acts as a mirror that reflects back to humanity what lies deeper in the soul than that which merely remains enshrouded in pretense. In a world where the average American watches gory scenes unfold on CNN from the front lines of Baghdad, struggles to pay outstanding mortgages, and then manages to somehow play with his children and make love to his wife all in the same day, the function of art is one which births an epiphany of inspiration and reveals just how conflicted humanity has truly become. And just how necessary the promise of hope abides.

Indie musician, Matt Thien (, accomplishes just that in his own craft, and in the form of the freshmen EP, Desert Dry. In this tour de force compilation, (in conjunction with Grammy Award-winning producer, Mitch Dane, and Jars of Clay guitarist, Steve Mason), Matt Thien exposes the conflict and juxtaposition that is embedded deep in the hearts of many MySpace-saturated, text-message-laden, Barack-Obama-campaigning young professionals. Desert Dry is indeed an eclectic blend of upbeat ballads and folksy pop beats that reflects nuances both timely and refreshing: uncertainty and love, exhibitionism and vulnerability, joy and anxiety.

Thien's first two tracks, 'BEAutiful' and 'Hey Hey,' catapult listeners into a celebration of love and subtle, lascivious romance. But, as lovers know all too well, romance is an elusive, ethereal phenomon that is just one ingredient among many that makes a meaningful connection. As 'Hey Hey' purports, "From the emails, to the phones calls, to the post cards, to the long walks," connection and community may "take place on MySpace or at my place." Yet the greatest strength of 'Hey Hey' is also its greatest weakness. As the music speaks to a postmodern culture, the actual production and tempo of the song recalls a generic, Nashville-centric tone that feels both chaste and clich'.

Whereas 'Hey Hey' may come off as prudent, Matt Thien's wizardry of lyrics erupts in a crescendo of passion and vivacity in the last three tracks. 'Desert Dry' declares that, for humanity, there is no sure path to stability. The uncertainty that surfaces and intertwines one's past, present, and future throws the modern-day pilgrim into the wilderness of temptation and transformation. Author, Henri Nouwen, once wrote that the wilderness is often the metaphor for a 'furnace of transformation,' in which "the old self dies and the new self is born." 'Desert Dry,' at its core, is about transformation; and in hearing, listeners are invited on a journey into the heart of art and artist. As a result, Matt Thien forces his audience to look into their own hearts as well.

When the new self resurrects from the ashes of the wilderness, there emerges a glimpse of hope. The act of love-making and child-rearing in spite of war, economic fragility, and wayward politics in the world is a testament to the human search for progress and the insistence of hope. In the final track, 'Find My Way,' the artist moves from lost to found. Tears are spent, the journey is gray, and love is lost, but "somewhere in the distance" humanity sees the light, catches a glimpse of hope, and pushes onward to tomorrow. The mirror of Thien's music shows us a glimpse of who humanity is at their worst and best. It also encourages humanity to grasp for tomorrow. It is that tomorrow "so long as we love and receive love" which holds the promise for renewal and revival. The desert is ever-present, but the heart of hope endures through conflict and change, uncertainty and celebration. - By Joe LaGuardia


Desert Dry EP - FEB 2008



Independent musician, Matt Thien accomplishes more in one day than some people accomplish in a lifetime. That is because he was born to change the world one heartfelt song at a time and is doing just that. Offering hope to all generations, Matt Thien's music crosses generational and racial barriers and boundaries to dig down deep into the souls of his listeners. Attracting young and old, his solid acoustic pop style and catchy songwriting are loveable, fun to listen to and easily remembered.

In his tour de force compilation, Desert Dry, his freshmen EP (in conjunction with Grammy Award-winning producer, Mitch Dane; acclaimed songwriter Randall Goodgame; and Jars' own, Steve Mason), Matt Thien exposes the conflict and juxtaposition that is embedded deep in the hearts of many MySpace-saturated, text-message-laden, Barack-Obama-campaigning young professionals. Desert Dry is indeed an eclectic blend of upbeat ballads and folksy pop beats that reflects nuances both timely and refreshing: uncertainty and love, exhibitionism and vulnerability, joy and anxiety.

"Matt Thien has a wonderful ability to capture one's attention with his unique voice, then they're drawn in by the rich lyric and melody. This combination sets Matt apart from the multitudes of singer songwriters out there." - Mitch Dane, Grammy Award Winning Producer/Engineer

Whether it's wrestling with being 'desert dry' or head over heals in 'beautiful' love, Matt Thien's passion for people to know purpose and meaning in life is second to nothing. Matt is determined to change the world one song at a time.