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Tree63

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Biography

Originally known simply as Tree, Tree63 is an alternative CCM group from Durban, South Africa, influenced by bands like delirious? and Sonicflood, with dashes of U2, Jars of Clay, and early dc Talk for good measure. Guitarist/lead vocalist John Ellis, bassist Scoop, and drummer Daryl Swart got together in late 1996 to perform at a local Christian music festival assembled by producer Martin Engel. Over the first half of 1997, Tree continued honing its live act, and recorded their debut album, Overflow, at Engel's studio around mid-year. The record helped land Tree a touring slot opening for the more dance-oriented Christian outfit MIC in 1998, and later that year, the band was invited to open for their heroes delirious? at the U.K. Soul Survivor festival. Warmly received by the audience, the band was invited back for the next year, and set about recording their second album in a higher-tech U.K. studio. Titled 63 (after the psalm), the album was released in the U.K. in mid-1999 and in South Africa toward the end of the year, by which time Martin Engel had replaced Scoop as the bass player. Tree scored a major hit in their homeland with the single "A Million Lights," which crossed over onto mainstream radio as well, making them the first Christian band to find mainstream success in South Africa. Word of mouth about 63 filtered over to American shores as well, and the group signed to the American inpop label, upon which point they officially changed their name to Tree63. Their first American release, a self-titled collection of songs re-recorded from their first two albums, hit stores in summer 2000. ~ Steve Huey
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