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On the Treetops
Posted November 01, 2020
By JJFrancesco_NRT, Staff Reviewer

What You Need To Know
Since leaving Sanctus Real several years ago, Matt Hammitt has kept himself in Christian music spotlight with a number of musical projects, as well as a book, advocacy work, and the touching story surrounding his son, Bowen. Matt's new album, Treetop, seeks to be a "coming of age" of sorts for middle-aged dads, looking back on the past with nostalgia, as well as an awareness of the road that led him to where he is. 

What It Sounds Like
Matt's brand of pop/rock is on full display on Treetop. His voice carries an emotional weight that lends credence to whatever he says. The title track opens the album with an almost whimsical atmosphere that creates a nostalgic and reflective mood. "Average" is impossibly catchy and ironically above-average. "Blank Page" is a rousing number that evokes some memories of Matt's old Sanctus Real days, with the album's strongest chorus and engaging energy. The album also balances softer moments, such as the lead single "Try," that allows Matt to hit the emotional highs. A few of the cuts don't quite leave as much melodic impression as others. But, Matt's wisdom makes up for any of those moments. For an album that is so low key and humble in its execution, its crisp and skilled execution highlights the maturity of the seasoned artist behind it. 

Spiritual Highlights
Matt Hammitt creates a journey melding nostalgia with sound wisdom in 10 tracks that feel like a journal or letter from a father to a son. Songs, like the title track and "Blank Page," look back at his current life journey, acknowledging the hardships, while noting how Christ with him through every step. "Average" talks about accepting that material success may not be what God has planned for us and how embracing this logic isn't bad or compromising. "Try" is an emotional wrecking ball, letting the listener know that "It's okay to feel angry/It's okay to feel heaviness/It's okay to feel insecure/And it's okay to ask questions/Turn your hurt to the heavens/It's okay to wonder what it's all for/He's not afraid of your doubt.

The album continues through themes of appreciating everything life has to offer ("Highlights") and how God will love us through all our struggles ("You Can't Stop Me"). Through it all, Matt's reassuring voice serves as a hand extended to the listeners to walk through their struggles and find the peace waiting on the other side of it all. These 10 songs ring with a voice of experience of someone who has been there, but also one who is still figuring it out. When more and more of popular music settle for trite comforts, it's refreshing to find someone like Hammitt proceeding with such authenticity. 

Best Song
"Blank Page"

For Fans Of
Sanctus Real, Matthew West, Jars of Clay

Final Word
Matt Hammitt has always had a finger on the pulse of the Christian man's walk, and this album serves as an album long devotional for Christian men and fathers. But, far from the often banal and trite advice doled out in self-help, Matt's wisdom is allowed to flow naturally from experience, and from the genuity of his musical execution. Those looking for a rewarding pop/rock album that trades some of the genre's signature pomp and circumstance for perspective and meaning will find in Matt's new release a beacon in a turbulent time. 

Check out Matt Hammitt on Apple Music and Spotify.

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