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Bluetree - Worship and Justice [Review]

Bluetree - Worship and Justice [Review]

By Jake Richards on September 25, 2014

With Worship and Justice, Northern Irish band, Bluetree, provides us with motivating and congregationally friendly songs of worship. Bluetree garnered much attention with their song "God of This City" which was written spontaneously while ministering in the red light district of Thailand. The song is a declaration of the greater things yet to come as God pours out his mercy and justice and Christians fill their roles as the body of Christ on earth.

Bluetree holds active, hands-and-feet Christianity at their core. They refer to this as "Avodah," a Hebrew word for "work," which is also translated "worship." They are advocates for the downtrodden and aid in ending poverty, hunger, and child prostitution across the globe, sometimes endangering their own lives in the process.

As the album title implies, this collection of songs focuses on the act of worship that we embody while pursuing justice for our neighbors. Their Irish flavor is apparent, but not in the stereotypical, folky way that is prevalent in worship music lately. The melodies are fairly simple and accessible to the average congregant. The arrangements are also not so synth-driven or full of strange folk instruments, which can be intimidating for the typical worship team. Most teams using conventional instruments should be able to easily incorporate any of these songs into their repertoire.

Though all the songs could be used in a weekly service, a standout track to me is “My Redeemer Lives.” This song, while lyrically simple like most of the album, is just the kind of song that motivates to live Godly beyond Sunday mornings. “Into the world You’ve called me, with all authority, and all because I know my Saviour lives in me” reminds us of our role as Christ’s hands and feet, acting on His behalf and with His authority - something Bluetree is all about.

One of the more poetic moments of the album comes in the song, “Each Day.” It opens with a simple melody over a piano line that evokes the imagery of a sunrise as he sings, “Each day, in the morning sun I see You.” It’s a song about God never leaving us alone, but being beside us always. It builds consistently in instrumentation and rhythm crescendoing into, “Even the rocks cry out to You!” Then a giant triumphant trumpet line pierces through the background and drives the climax of the song before bringing it back down to the marching sound of a snare drum.

While every song is good, they don’t necessarily push any boundaries artistically on this project,  which is certainly not a bad thing. Knowing what the band stands for and reading about the way they live their lives gives me the impression that these songs come from the heart and are not being sung without truly meaning every word. It’s actually quite refreshing to hear an album that’s not “music for music’s sake.” I’d love to speak more on what I love about Bluetree, but it’s easier to just go to bluetreeworship.com where there’s more information about who they are, what they do, and how to get involved. Of course, it’s also a great place to get chord charts and purchase the album, Worship and Justice.

Disclosure: A copy of this album was provided by the record label or artist for review purposes. The iTunes widget above is a part of an affiliate program. If you purchase the album through the widget, a small percentage of the sale will benefit All About Worship.

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Jake Richards

Jake Richards

Jake is a husband and father in small-town New Mexico. He has served over a decade as a volunteer worship leader and songwriter, and builds homes for a living.