South African publication Tonight reports that after 10 years together, the Christian rock worship group Tree63 is stepping away from the stage to get on with their lives”. This was confirmed by lead vocalist, John Ellis.
“We haven’t broken up, but we are at a stage where we need a sabbatical and to become other things,” Ellis told Tonight.co.za. He says the group’s other two members, Darryl Swart and Daniel Ornellas, are still in the States and working on projects that are not musical.
Ellis doesn’t rule out a solo project and says the group has plans to perform together at Tree63 now and then.
The great thing about Tree63 is that they always fell outside of the Christian bubble worship scene – even though one of their biggest hits was a cover of Matt Redman’s “Blessed Be Your Name.” In a 2006 interview with ChristianityToday.com, for example, Ellis made some great remarks about the modern worship movement
As a result of “modern worship,” there is less room these days for artistic expressions of faith, music that wrestles with the realities of being a Jesus-follower, with the darkness we fight day in and day out in our personal lives. Christian radio also shoulders a big percentage of the blame: It conditions people to expect a very particular thing from Christian artists. “Safe for the whole family” can sometimes mean “shielded from reality.”
(Remember, Jason Gay had to change his name to Jason Gray in part because of the problems he had with “family friendly” internet that kept his fans from accessing his website.”
Amen to that.