Jars Of Clay - Jars Of Clay Triple Feature

Published Monday 14th March 2011
Jars Of Clay - Jars Of Clay Triple Feature
Jars Of Clay - Jars Of Clay Triple Feature

STYLE: Rock
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 96117-17474
LABEL: Provident 083061091828
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 3
RELEASE DATE: 2010-10-19
RRP: £9.99

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

If you're a newcomer to CCM here's a value for money package offering three CDs for the price of one from one of the most popular bands of the last couple of decades. When they emerged from Greenville College in the mid 1990s they were dubbed "alterna-folk" by some critics and certainly their wistful sound focussed on Dan Haseltine's intelligent songwriting made them a fascinating alternative to the grunge sounds that were dominating college radio at the time. The first of the three albums here is 1995's 'Jars Of Clay', a double-Platinum selling classic with the big hit "Flood" (produced by Adrian Belew of King Crimson) often turning up on people's all time favourite lists. The way in which Matt Odmark pummels his guitar into submission over those haunting tones of Haseltine is still captivating today. Other gems on the album are "Liquid" which starts with a riveting violin solo followed by a cascading blend of percussion and vocal harmonies and the other worldly sounds of a sample of Benedictine chanting; "Like A Child" where a lyric of yearning for simple faith is driven by mandolin, fiddle and recorder; and "Worlds Apart" with its memorable lyric "what I believe and what I need are worlds apart". Following a stone classic is never easy but the Jars did well with 1997's 'Much Afraid', an album inspired by the devotional novel Hinds Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard. Musically, the album is slicker and more polished at times resembling the adult pop of Sting and it lacks a little of the passion and dynamism of its predecessor. But it still had some great songs. "Frail" is the album's centrepiece, a near seven minute epic where an acoustic guitar and intriguing percussion is offset by a chamber orchestra. The Beatlesque "Overjoyed" has a winsome charm while "Five Candles" (originally written for the Jim Carey film Liar Liar but finally used in the movie Jack Frost) which offers a child's cry for his father's affection. After the subdued, reflective quality of 'Much Afraid', the Jars hired producer Dennis Herring (Counting Crows, Cracker) for 1999's next album 'If I Left The Zoo'. It has a bluesier, more organic feel with touches of mainstream Southern acts like Wilco cropping up here and there mixed with some more strong Beatles influences. In fact, the opener "Goodbye, Goodnight" sounds like a Sgt Pepper outtake and comes complete with a spoof sea shanty chorus. "Unforgettable You" is a radio friendly delight with the most engaging of hooks; "Collide" was the Jars hardest rocking track up to that time; while "River Constantine" was a haunting prayer for the Holy Spirit to come. To sum up then, each of the albums here has some creatively timeless moments and it would be mean spirited to give this generous reissue package anything less than the maximum rating.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Product Description
Limited Edition collection from one of the most beloved groups in Christian Music. Featuring:
  • Jars Of Clay
  • If I Left The Zoo
  • Much Afraid

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