Sounds like … worshipful acoustic pop with some blues thrown in, similar to the work of Van Morrison, Robbie Robertson, The Wallflowers, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Glenn Kaiser, and Rick Elias.

At a glance … Falson's re-released A Tree By the Water is a very good fusion of artistry, Scripture, and worship that's especially distinguished by its likeable acoustic pop and blues style.

Some may recognize Chris Falson for well-known worship songs from the '90s like "I Walk By Faith" and "I See the Lord," or perhaps for his music featured in TV shows like Star Trek, Without a Trace, and One Tree Hill. For everyone else, A Tree By the Water will seem like a debut, though it's not the first album from this Australian-born singer/songwriter, nor is it his latest. It's actually the fourth of his six recordings, originally released in 1997 and later re-released in 2005 through two independent labels before this new incarnation through Maranatha.

Why this Falson album, and why the subsequent re-releases? Maybe it's simply that good, with enough small labels believing in it enough to (deservedly) try and find it a bigger audience. This one stands out for being relatively unconventional—more worshipful in tone than average Christian pop/rock, yet more performance-minded than the average worship album.

Though most of the lyrics seem as if they come directly from God's Word (such as "Like a Tree" from Psalm 1), most all of the songs either adapt or paraphrase to offer original expressions—the prayerful "Holy Spirit" sounds like it belongs among the Psalms. And Falson delivers it with an enjoyably mellow blend of acoustic pop (eight-minute meditation "I Will Wake in the Morning") and blues ("You Can Talk the Talk"), somewhere between Van Morrison, Robbie Robertson, The Wallflowers, and Eric Clapton.

True, the production sounds like it was made ten years ago, but it still holds up today. And though the lyrics sometimes seem too simplistic and straightforward, that's part of the style and appeal when it comes to worship and blues music. It all combines into a very good fusion of artistry, Scripture, and worship that helps set Falson apart from other worship artists—hopefully enough to make the third time a charm for A Tree By the Water.

A Tree by the Water
Our Rating
3½ Stars - Good
Average Rating
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Release Date
July 1, 2006
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