Bluetree, recently signed to Integrity Music, release their label album debut on August 26th. I had the privilege of interviewing lead singer Aaron Boyd via email, as we discussed the upcoming album, what he hopes listeners will experience when hearing the tracks, as well as any hopes the band has of the upcoming year ahead. Check out the interview below.
1. It has been a couple of years between the studio albums of Kingdom and Worship and Justice. How has it been throughout these last few years and what has the approach been to recording this new album?
AARON: Life has been a crazy roller-coaster. So many incredible experiences and lots of hard moments. But that’s part of the journey. Finding rest in the midst of a storm or celebrating break through. Whatever the life season, knowing His peace.
The album approach is simply sharing the stories and songs of where I’ve been and what, as a ministry Bluetree has been up to.
2. For those who may not necessarily know who Bluetree are, can you explain how you think your sound is like as a band? How did Bluetree form and what has God been stirring in both yourselves personally and as a band of late?
AARON: When I formed Bluetree I wanted people to align with something more than a person… i.e. “Blue trees” are different, they stand out from amongst the green ones. We, as followers of Christ are called to be salt and light. To stand out.
Essentially Bluetree is me as a worship leader with a team of people who are passionate about worship, music and justice.
The sound is loud, energetic, prophetic, reflective. But prayerfully, above all, something that helps people connect with the greatest friend of all, Abba Father. I love the journey of music throughout a time of worship.
3. ‘God of the City’, covered by Chris Tomlin, was your ‘breakout’ song; that led to much more people taking notice of your music. With the success of both your debut album and Kingdom, what do you hope for listeners to be inspired with when they listen to this new album?
AARON: After I wrote ‘God of This City,’ life went from 0-100mph very quickly. Kingdom was a real thinking ground around who we are as co heirs with Christ. That was my journey in that period… examining who we truly are in the Kingdom of God.
My prayer is that this record would go further and reach more people than either of the first two. I pray people would delve deep into the songs, find truth and discover that in life we can all walk in boldness whatever the situation.
4. You have recently signed to Integrity Music. What has been the highlight of the whole process of choosing songs to be on your Integrity Music debut (essentially, Worship and Justice is a ‘best of’ album- hits from your previous two, and some new ones as well)? Can listeners still hear Worship and Justice before your previous albums, or would you advise them to hear your previous ones first?
AARON: It’s so exciting when other people are excited about your vision and passion. Being able to look back and forward at the same time was fun. Old and new.
Being able to pick songs that have been the soundtrack for me and my family’s life over the past years and then release some new songs is an honour. Definitely just get all the albums (lol); [just] because a song isn’t on the album doesn’t mean it’s not important to me. Far from it.
5. Each song has an epic anthem atmosphere when I heard it- is there any song on Worship and Justice that stands out for you personally that you want listeners to gravitate to?
AARON: The re-record of ‘Each Day’ had me in floods of tears. Trying to cut vocals through my brokenness. I honestly sang that song with desperation, hope and belief all rolled together.
‘Jesus Healer’ was exactly the same. Please grab these songs and lift them as banners over your life. Christ died for salvation/wholeness. Let’s never let go of that truth.
6. You have written/co-written a fair amount of the songs on the album. What was your writing process when writing the brand new songs- was it different than or the same as your writing techniques when writing songs like “You Were, You Are”, “Jesus Healer”, “Each Day” or “You Are My Rock”?
AARON: All my songs are written in the same fashion. When I lead, I feel I respond to what’s happening. Revelation and response. Usually during a time when people are being prayed for or ministered to, I begin to sing out. That’s when I get songs.
7. Who has been your favourite person to collaborate with so far, either in duets, writing, recording, or otherwise? Any artist- either on Integrity Music or outside your label; that you would like to collaborate with one day?
AARON: I love writing with the guys from here in Northern Ireland. The people I journey life with. Ryan Griffith and Nathan Jess. It’s so easy when it’s just natural. God is into relationship and honesty.
If I could write with Matt Redman, Martin Smith and Chris Tomlin, that would be legit. All at the same time. lol
8. Many of your songs on Worship and Justice have been some of your standout songs from God of This City and Kingdom– You Were, You Are, Jesus Healer, Each Day, You Are My Rock, It is Finished and Rest. What was the significance and meaning of including all these songs on your new album, instead of making a whole album full of new songs? How have each of these 10 songs ministered to you as both a band and individually, and how have you observed these songs impacting listeners, either during radio functions or live shows?
AARON: All of these songs are a big chunk of life or learning for the Boyd family. I can look at certain parts of life and pinpoint a song that’s been my prayer.
When I sing ‘Jesus Healer’ after telling the story it’s incredible to see people respond with that banner over their lives. Worship is our greatest response to the faithfulness of God.
I know I am truly privileged to see the joy/pain in people when they abandon themselves in worship.
9. What has been the overall highlight in creating Worship and Justice? Any songs that were difficult to write, either from a theological standpoint, or just trying to write something that is right for the church? Which song that you have written from Worship and Justice speaks to you the most?
AARON: I love ‘God You Are Good’ (Waters Edge). It’s from when Joshua was crossing the Jordan. The Levites carried the ark into the water. The water stopped flowing at a place up the river. There was a time of waiting. Just because the water didn’t dry up immediately didn’t mean there wasn’t something happening. It took time for the water to flow past. We are all waiting on a breakthrough of some kind at times.
10. Who do you look up to for advice, both in a band and individual sense- either for songwriting tips or just for general mentoring? How have your mentors and people you know in the music industry shaped your musical craft and worship leading ability, through albums or even live in churches around the world?
AARON: I am part of a great local church with fabulous leadership. As a family we have so many great friends who speak into and challenge us in life. My wife Jill is a star. She is an awesome communicator with an incredible gift to teach. I would not be able to do what I do without her.
Depending on the season, we have different friends who can advise us. Ultimately it comes down to us as a family having peace about something and running with it.
11. Which artist on Integrity Music, your current label, are you listening to currently? Any up and coming artist, on Integrity Music or another, are you impressed with, and want to advocate to listeners to hear more of?
AARON: I love listening to the songs that come from Worship Central. I love the mix of worship leaders. Great hearts with a passion for the church.
The new Gungor record I Am Mountain is complete genius. That blew my mind.
12. For anyone who is reading this interview and is feeling discouraged or down, either because of something in their life currently or something spoken over them, what can you say to them?
Wow. Where do you start? I think the older I get and more I see, I realise we are all broken and struggling with something. I think though through the hurt and brokenness we all need to get a revelation of who we are in Christ. What does that truly mean in our everyday lives? The Bible promises we will have trouble in the world. BUT. We need find constant rest in the midst of adversity as greater is HE that is in us than he that is in the world. We are more than conquerors. It’s just finding out what that looks like. Never let go of hope.
13. What do you do as a band (or individually) during your downtime- any music that is on your iTunes playlist currently? Any TV shows you are currently binge-watching?
My ‘down’ time is still quite full on. I’m mad into rock/ice climbing, surfing, mountain biking… in fact, anything to do with the outdoors. I think I’ve tried every sport out there. “Jack of all trades master of none.”
I recently had myself signed to get my skydiving qualification but ended up not having time to get it done. Wing suit flying is a lifetime goal!
14. What has God been teaching you of late in the Scriptures or any other media? Any parting words, encouragements or anything else you want to share to listeners of your music that you haven’t discussed in this interview yet?
Faithfulness. Staying the course. As a family, we are still believing for a breakthrough in my eldest daughter Lily’s life. We so want to see her completely whole and set free from CF.
This journey isn’t a short sprint it’s a long race. In the end we win, but I want to do it in style. lol
Be sure to check out Bluetree’s new album Worship and Justice releasing August 26th. Til then, check out music videos of ‘Jesus Healer’ and ‘You Are My Rock’ below, both of which are re-recorded on the new album.