By the Tree

World on Fire

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The reshuffling of this CCM trio left it with a new vocal direction and a challenge to reinvent its sound in a time when CCM fans had heard way too much middle-of-the-road rock. In some ways, vocalist/guitarist Aaron Blanton, bass player/vocalist Ben Davis, and drummer Garrett Goodwin seemed to find a niche that wasn't too heavy, too light, or too intrusive, yet still resembled a pulsing rock ambition. Fortunately, they didn't take the oft-traveled road of Brit-pop to try to distinguish themselves, relying instead on a big jangle pop sound that combined the simplicity of Vertical Horizon with the grassroots appeal of the Fray. The downside was that this simple approach kept the trio from leaving a more memorable impression. Still, much like Vertical Horizon, it didn't preclude them from finding a loyal following and garnering mild radio success. Blanton's vocals mimic those of a mellowed-out Dave Grohl (think "Big Me," not "Everlong"), ironic since Blanton also started as a drummer. A strong cover version of Delirious?' "Rain Down" shows that the anthem isn't too big for them.

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