Hailing from Durban, South Africa, Tree63 has had an impressive twelve year run in the Christian market. After 2007's release, Sunday!, a collection titled Blessed Be Your Name: The Hits hit streets this Spring. Although the need for a hits record at this point in their career is debatable, the collection highlights Tree63's best songs and puts them into one convenient disc.
The Hits, not surprisingly, opens with the smash hit cover of Matt Redman's "Blessed Be Your Name." The song was described by Chris Tomlin as "...the definitive recording of one of the most all-encompassing songs in the entire world of Christian music," and later announced as the number three Praise and Worship song of all time. Following that track comes the the upbeat and catchy "Treasure," and the modern rock infused "King." Soon after in the track listing, three out of Tree63's six album title tracks appear: "Sunday," "The Answer to the Question," and "I Stand for You." Closing out the record is a fairly mellow live version of "Amazing Grace."
It's not an easy task to critique individual songs on a hits album (for the simple reason that the band and, at the very least, their producer decided these songs were good enough for one). However, it still begs the question: is there really a need for a record of this kind? Some of these songs have appeared on two albums previously already; for instance, "I Stand For You" was featured on 2004's The Answer to the Question as well as 2005's I Stand For You: Worship Volume One, therefore including the song on three out of seven of Tree63's major label albums. Although the record is a fine listen, Tree63 has simply not released enough material to justify The Hits.
Whatever the verdict on the need for a hits album, Tree63 has led an impressive career in the Christian music market, merging modern rock with an unmistakable worship style. They've been at it for twelve years, and appear to be ready for another dozen. Maybe later on, they will have more material to create a slightly fuller hits album, as was the case with bands like Audio Adrenaline, dc Talk, and labelmates Newsboys. For now, it would be in the best interests of the band to at least focus on making a Worship Volume Two record at this point.- Review date: 7/21/08, written by Garrett DeRossett
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