Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Jars of Clay '20' album out now

Grammy and Dove Award-winning band Jars of Clay celebrates 20 years of music, releasing today a fan-curated retrospective double-album of re-recorded favorites and two new songs, appropriately named 20.

It was released independently on the group’s own Gray Matters label with distribution through Tone Tree and is available now.

With 20,
Jars of Clay took time to look back over what they’ve created.

“This has been the most extended period of time that we’ve been able to musically reflect on what we’ve done over the last twenty years,” says rhythm guitarist Matthew Odmark.

Remakes of earlier songs and movies often fall short of evoking the same spark that made them popular in the first place, but Jars of Clay have discovered rich treasures hidden in previous works during their two-decade career.

By allowing the fans to say which songs they would do and allowing themselves to decide how they would do them, balancing out the essence of the original version with where the band is now, the adventurous 20 ends up feeling both nostalgic and new, simultaneously looking back and facing forward.

“There is weight attached to a collection of songs that people who have spent 20 years with us have chosen. It’s sacred space,” says lead vocalist Dan Haseltine.

A few of the fans’ selections surprised the band, not having played some of them in ten years. Many were deep-track selections that didn’t garner as much radio play but cut to the heart of fans.

“There were some songs that were surprisingly hitting a real strong emotional chord in me because I had missed them the first time around,” admits multi-instrumentalist Stephen Mason.

Many of the band’s remakes received a “sonic sprucing up” that reflects the current ethos of the band. The original version of “God Will Lift Up Your Head,” for example, now sports a punk rock energy, with jazz flavored polyrhythmic drum-and-bass grooves.

Conversely, Jars of Clay’s original, acoustic driven “Love Song,” has a more relaxed, airy feel with stark piano chords and a cinematic string section.

Jars of Clay’s 20 also features guest vocalists like Ashely Cleveland on “Jealous Kind,” while Mancy Pendergrass sings on “Worlds Apart.”

The two new songs in this retrospective album are “If You Love Her,” which came from the band’s experiences working with Blood:Water Mission, an organization they founded in 2004 that has raised more than $22 million to help fight AIDS/HIV and the water crises in Africa, and “Ghost on the Moon.”

On tour later this month, Jars of Clay will play both old and new fan favorites spanning the band’s repertoire that includes 16 No. 1 songs.

Track listing:

Disc: 1
1. Fade To Grey
2. Worlds Apart
3. Tea and Sympathy
4. Silence
5. No One Loves Me Like You
6. Collide
7. Jealous Kind
8. God Will Lift Up Your Head
9. Ghost In The Moon
10. If You Love Her
Disc: 2
1. Trouble Is
2. Something Beautiful
3. I Need Thee
4. Boys
5. Dead Man
6. Oh My God
7. Safe To Land
8. Inland
9. Love In Hard Times
10. Love Song
Tour dates:
August 31 Joshua Fest Quincy, CA
September 8 Aladdin Theater Portland, OR
September 9 Rialto Theater Tacoma, WA
September 10 Spokane County Fair Spokane, WA
September 27 Franklin Theater Franklin, TN
October 8 Harvester Center Rocky Mount, VA
October 9 The State Theatre State College, PA
October 10 Highline Ballroom, New York, NY
October 11 Sellersville Theater Sellersville, PA
October 12 Roberts Wesleyan College Rochester, NY
October 19 Howard Performing Arts Berrien Springs, NY 
December 5 Wentz Concert Hall Naperville, IL 

* Tour dates subject to change.

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