This summer, Calvary music student Martin Maharas released an EP album with his band, Blood and Hyssop. The album, titled First Fruits, has six songs all based in Scripture. Maharas described the mission of Blood and Hyssop, saying, “In a world where contemporary Christian music often follows culture more than Scripture, my music springs forth from the Bible and guides the hearts of believers for the glory of God.”
Maharas has been writing and performing music for years, playing in Calvary’s praise band and in Calvary’s music team, lux voces. He said his experience with lux voces especially developed his desire for excellence in the field of music. The work of being in a band, “it’s not like being on a praise and worship group… Lux voces made me crave the real thing.” He had wanted to produce an album for several years, but ran into obstacles of time, money, and opportunity. When he met Sean Lea of Shadow Scape Records, he decided to pursue it, and began the process of producing his first album.
The band name Blood and Hyssop comes from the hyssop used in the Old Testament for sprinkling with blood. Maharas said, “The hyssop was the applicator, and I want the band to be the applicator of truth.” Collaborators on the album include bassist Jacob Claxton and two Calvary alums: Chris Stolberg on piano and Jordan Hoffman on drums.
Maharas’ time at Calvary has given him a chance to hone in on the Scriptures behind his lyrics. He said, “[at Calvary], I got biblical classes to ground me in how you interpret the Scriptures… Scripture says what it says, and you discover its meaning.” Speaking at this year’s OnRamp event, Maharas described the role Calvary had played, both in his personal growth and in the production of this album. “I can’t say that it’s only because I came to Calvary, but I can say that it wouldn’t be what it is without Calvary.”
The EP, First Fruits, can be found on Spotify, Amazon, and iTunes, or physical copies can be bought through Blood and Hyssop’s Facebook page. As Maharas starts work on producing a full length album, he encouraged other Christian artists, “Make great Christian art. Just make it. Make something that Christ would be proud of, that really brings glory and honor to him. Don’t settle for anything less.”
The album artwork features a painting by Calvary student Hannah LePage.