Every time I get the opportunity to go into a prison or jail to share my story, something within my heart is awakened that can only be explained or understood by those who choose to walk into dark places, and take the gift hope. Ultimately, to take the very gift of hope into facilities where few are called to walk on a voluntary basis, Love and Grace are the friends that stick by and never leave.

Hope is defined as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had, or that events will turn out for the best”. So when I pick up my guitar and sing songs that I believe were written to reach into every person’s soul that is sitting within the confines of those four walls, I’m reminded of the word Hope, and what it really means to those who sit before me. I’m reminded that we all bleed the same, we all hurt the same, and that we all make mistakes, which eventually have some kind of consequence.

I’m both privileged and humbled each time I witness how words, carried on the shoulders of music, reach in and touch hearts in a way I can’t explain. The times I have played music and shared stories together with Nathan Lee, will be times I’ll never forget. I’ve seen raw criminals reduced to tears as they are introduced to hope. I’ve observed obnoxious behavior turn helpless in the face of honesty and truth, as Nathan and myself share honest songs and honest music.

There is no band. There are no flashing lights. There are no checks in the mail……………But there is Hope, and it shakes the hand of each inmate as they leave the room. Hope is what walks with them back to their cell, and it restores their faith and the power of change.

This is the only reason why I partner with Nathan Lee and “Send Musicians to Prison” …… Hope.

-Matthew Kennedy