Andy McCann from Bluetree recently took the time to talk to All4God about their new album, Greater Things (which can be bought now from iTunes – just click here), and how about how you can serve and worship God, regardless of your musical ability.
Who are Bluetree?
Bluetree is a six piece worship band from the greater Belfast area. Bluetree are:
Ian Jordan: Keys/synth madness
Peter Comfort: Drums
Andy McCann: Bass
Aaron Boyd: Guitar/vocals
Rick Bleakley: Lead guitar
Pete K: DJ loops and madness
Bluetree have been together for 3 years. Most of us attend CFC Strandtown (apart from Pete K who goes to Greenisland Baptist and Peter Comfort who goes to Glenmachen Church of God). All of the guys have played for various other worship leaders at CFC, such as Robin Mark, Johnny Parks, and Marie Lacey.
We got together for a Streetreach concert about 3 years ago and since then things have snowballed. The line-up changed slightly when Peter Comfort joined on drums and then about a year after initially forming we met up with Pete K and asked him to join the band. We didn’t know what he would do but his role has really developed over the past few years and now he is indispensable.
Bluetree have been the resident band at Mannafest for 3 years. We love it. People love our version of the Happy song (originally by Delirious), but we have vowed to not play it again for a very long time…if ever again!
We have travelled through Scotland, Romania, Thailand and Northern Ireland for various mission trips etc.
We have just released Greater Things, our debut album which was recorded in Windmill Lane studios in Dublin. The album has been selling well. There has been lots of interest. It was produced by Dove award winning American producer Paul Mills.
Last August Bluetree supported Chris Tomlin when he played in the Odyssey in Belfast.
What bands would you say have influenced your style of music?
We have been influenced by various musicians and styles but our main influences would include bands like Delirious, Dave Crowder etc we have been known to rock up a few Robin Mark songs as well! We listen to these bands but our sound is still something fresh and new that hasn’t really been done before. We all listen to different bands, secular and Christian. We enjoy new worship songs by contemporary artists but we also love revamping old classic songs that are full of Gods truth.
How did you decide that now was the time to release your album?
The album release was a total God thing, we didn’t really plan it. We hooked up with Paul Mills who is Robin Marks producer and he felt he really wanted to help us out. God ended up supplying money, studios, gear and all we needed to create a world class album. God basically gave us this album and we were not expecting it to be anything like what it is. We intended to record the album ourselves in a small Belfast studio but God ended up giving us an amazing American producer, world class studios to record in and money to actually afford to do it. The whole album recording and launch was all Gods timing and he was in control the whole way through
What would you say is the most important message for people to take away from listening to it?
We want different messages to be sent depending on who is listening to it. We want non Christians to hear this record and still love it even though they may not know God or understand what we are singing about. We want them to hear it and know that the music is awesome, top quality and leave with the knowledge that just because it’s a Christian Worship album it doesn’t mean its poor quality, boring, sub standard music.
For Christians who hear it we want them to be able to engage in worship whenever they hear it. The songs are accessible for corporate worship so we want people to pick the songs up and sing them in their churches. The message is simply we love God, these are the songs we are using to worship him and we believe that these songs have something to say to Christians today at this moment in time. We believe God is moving in a very real way across Northern Ireland and the world today and (as some of our songs say) God isn’t finished with us yet and Greater things are still to come
Which track are you most proud of?
We are proud of all of the songs. One of my personal favourites is “For You” but we all love God of this City and that seems to be the song that a lot of listeners are also loving. We love all our songs! Standing Out is also a classic that always goes down well at a concert.
What advice do you have for people reading this who can sing/play an instrument, and want to start using that to serve God?
If God has given you a gift, no matter what it is, he has given it to you so that you can give it back to him. If you can play a few chords on a guitar maybe you’re not up for standing in front of thousands of people and leading them in worship but maybe God has given that gift so that you can just worship him on your own in your room. If you can dance or DJ or write poetry, do it all for God. Dedicate everything you do to him and don’t use your gifts that God has given you to try and gain worship for yourself.
What about for people who are already doing something music related to serve God, and are looking to take that to the next talent. Any tips?
From our travels around various places we can see how some churches are really lacking in people with musical ability so if you can sing or play an instrument then begin to use that gift to serve God in your Church. It’s a great place to start. We are all grounded in our local churches and we always will be. It’s only by staying tied into Church that we can do what we do.
Any thoughts about how you can avoid going into “autopilot” during worship, when your lips sing the words, but your mind isn’t focused on them?
I think everyone is guilty of singing worship to God with our lips but not with our heart. I think its all about the personal relationship with Jesus. If you’re close to him you will want to sing worship and praise to him and lift his name above anything else. We are all guilty of going into autopilot during worship but if we realize that we are doing this then we can look at why we aren’t worshipping God like we should be and try to get back on track with Him.
On your album, on the track “God of this city’’ you sing that ‘Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city’. Any thoughts on how that can be fulfilled through this generation?
This track was given to us by God in a strip club in Thailand and we believe it is a prophetic song to this world. We got the chance to play in this club while we were out doing concerts and leading worship. It wasn’t a strip club while we were playing in it but during normal hours all sorts of dark things would happen in there. God gave us the opportunity to play there and lead people in worship and for two hours we were able to blast the darkness of Satan with the awesome presence of God. It was probably the most random place we have ever played but God blessed us for following his direction and he gave us God of this City.
If we keep striving after God then it’s up to God what greater things he is going to bring to our cities, families and friends. Revival, the lost being saved, the darkness of this world being destroyed by the light of God…these are great things that God can and will bring about if we faithfully serve, follow and obey Him.
Do you think Christian music can play a role in outreach, or do you see it as something to help people who are already Christians?
Christian music has many roles in society. It can be used to lead the Bride of Christ in worship but it can also be used to bring the lost into the truth of salvation. Hopefully our music is accessible and interesting to people who don’t believe in God. If our music is good enough to listen to and enjoy then hopefully people will begin to be open to the message that we are singing about, therefore I believe that it can be an outreach tool. The average punter in the street may not go and listen to a cd or go to a concert of someone singing the psalms in 4 part harmonies, but if we (the Christian music scene) create music that is top quality then we can reach people for the kingdom. We should be creating the best music this world has ever heard as we have the power of the creator of the universe within us.
How can people without musical talents worship God outside of big events and church services?
We should be living everyday as an act of worship. I don’t think when we get to Heaven God is going to ask us how many songs we sang to him, but he will want to know how much money we gave to the poor, how many times did we buy that drunk guy a cup of coffee etc. It’s not all about playing guitar or writing songs. Do everything as worship to God. Work for God, cut the grass for God and just always worship him with your thoughts, words and actions.
Do any of the band members have an interesting talent (that isn’t music related)? Boydo is currently learning to juggle and do various circus related acts! Rick and Pete comfort are both tongue tied and can only stick their tongue out about 1 cm. I am a comedy genius and am currently working on creating a stock pile of hilarious gags and jokes that I can use to devastating effect. Pete K is a footballing legend and is also remarkably thin like flat Eric. Jordy is just a pure musical genius so I’m not sure if he has talents that are non musical.