STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 96011-17080 LABEL: Essential 083061092320 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2010-10-05 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by Peter Timmis
After 16 years and 12 albums these veterans of the US CCM scene release what is, undoubtedly, one of their finest albums to date. 'The Shelter' was inspired by an old Irish proverb about finding shelter in community, which is relevant as Jars Of Clay have enlisted a small army of friends - including Amy Grant, David Crowder and Sara Groves - to perform on the record. The opening track "Small Rebellions" (featuring Brandon Heath) appears, on the surface, to be a delicate pop song but the chorus features lively bursts of electric guitar and the lyrics, "If our days could be filled with small rebellions/Senseless, brutal acts of kindness from us all" verge on revolutionary. Third Day's Mac Powell lends his rich tones to the country-esque shuffle of "Eyes Wide Open", a track that also features Burlap To Cashmere, Derek Webb and an inspired bluegrass-style guitar solo. The highlight of the album though has to be "Shelter" where TobyMac, Brandon Heath and Audrey Assad enrich the hypnotic, chanted lyrics and create something breathtakingly beautiful. With this many different artists contributing to one album there was a danger that 'The Shelter' wouldn't be able to find its own identity but, in fact, the guests never threaten to overpower proceedings and only enhance this unique and well crafted album.
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The Shelter, the latest creation from celebrated band Jars of Clay, began with an old Irish Proverb: It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.
Showcasing that simple idea of community, the band invited a host of friends into its self-described “compact creative environment” to craft songs both intimate and rousing, personal and majestic.
The Shelter features an 11 voice choir and appearances from 15 fellow artists including Brandon Heath, Mac Powell, tobyMac, Amy Grant and Mike Donehey.