Jars of Clay

Jars of Clay

Infobox musical artist
Name = Jars of Clay

Img_capt =
Img_size =
Landscape = yes
Background = group_or_band
Birth_name =
Alias =
Origin = Greenville, Illinois, U.S.
Instrument =
Genre = Rock
Pop rock
Christian rock
Occupation =
Years_active = 1993–present
Label = Essential/Silvertone (1995–2007) Gray Matters/Nettwerk (2007–present)
Associated_acts =
URL = [http://www.jarsofclay.com www.jarsofclay.com]
Current_members = Dan Haseltine
Stephen Mason
Matthew Odmark
Charlie Lowell
Past_members = Matt Bronleewe
Scott Savage
Aaron Sands
Joe Porter
Notable_instruments =

Jars of Clay is a Grammy Award winning Christian rock band from Franklin, Tennessee. They met at Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois. Jars of Clay. (2005). Making the Grade. [http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=87021915&s=143441 iTunes Originals - Jars of Clay] . [AAC Audio] . Essential Records.]

Jars of Clay consists of Dan Haseltine on vocals, Charlie Lowell on piano and keyboards, Stephen Mason on lead guitars and Matthew Odmark on rhythm guitars. Although the band has no permanent drummer or bassist, Jeremy Lutito and Gabe Ruschival of Disappointed By Candy fill these roles for live concerts. Past tour band members include Aaron Sands, Scott Savage, and Joe Porter. Jars of Clay's style is a blend of alternative rock, folk, acoustic, and R&B.

The band's name is derived from the New International Version's translation of 2 Corinthians 4:7:This verse is paraphrased in their song "Four Seven," which appears on "Frail" and as a hidden track on the CD release of their self-titled album.

Band history


Dan Haseltine, Steve Mason and Charlie Lowell formed Jars of Clay at Greenville College, in Greenville, Illinois in the early 1990s. Dan Haseltine first met Steve Mason after noticing that he was wearing a Toad the Wet Sprocket shirt. Pursuing a career in music together was not necessarily their original goal; some of the first songs they wrote together were for music and recording classes they were taking at the time. Their second guitarist Matt Bronleewe joined some time later, and drummer Scott Savage occasionally joined them for some of their early public performances.

In 1994, the band submitted a demo to a talent competition run by the Gospel Music Association and were selected as finalists. They traveled to Nashville to perform and won the contest. Back in Greenville, they self-released a limited-run of the same demo, which they named "Frail", after their song of the same name. The buzz from their performance in Nashville and the demo's popularity resulted in offers from record labels, so the band decided to drop school and move to Nashville. At this time, Bronlewee left the band to finish school and settle down with his fiancée. He was replaced with Matt Odmark, Lowell's childhood friend.


Jars of Clay signed with Essential Records and started recording their first full-length studio album. King Crimson prog-rocker Adrian Belew heard the band and offered to produce, leading to him producing two songs - "Liquid" and "Flood." [cite web |title= Jars of Clay Credits| url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kpfuxqehldae~T2 | accessdate= 2008-03-23] Jars of Clay. (2005). The Other Side of Lightning In a Bottle. [http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=87021915&s=143441 iTunes Originals - Jars of Clay] . [AAC Audio] . Essential Records.] The band's self-titled debut released in 1995. When the single "Flood" began to climb the charts on mainstream radio stations, Silvertone Records (Essential's parent company) started to heavily promote the song, turning it into one of the biggest mainstream hits ever by a band on a Christian label. The album has since reached multi-platinum certification according to the RIAA. [http://www.riaa.com RIAA.com] ]

The band toured in support of other Christian acts, such as PFR, and aside mainstream acts like Matchbox Twenty, Duncan Sheik, and Sting. This resulted in a small backlash from conservative Christian groups. [cite web | last=Lutes | first=Chris |title= Faith Under Fire| url=http://www.christianitytoday.com/cl/7c5/7c5016.html | accessdate= 2008-03-23] The band released a Christmas EP entitled "Drummer Boy" at the end of 1995. The EP was re-released in 1997 with a slightly different track listing on Silvertone. The year 1997 also saw the release of the band's album, "Much Afraid", which was produced by Stephen Lipson. [cite web |title= Much Afraid Credits| url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3bfqxqyhldfe~T2 | accessdate= 2008-03-23] The album sold very well and went on to earn a Grammy award for "Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album".cite web|url=http://www.grammy.com/GRAMMY_Awards/Winners/Results.aspx?title=&winner=jars%20of%20clay&year=0&genreID=0&hp=1 | title= The Grammy Awards | accessdate= 2008-03-22] The album has since earned platinum certification by the RIAA.

In 1999, Jars of Clay released their third album, "If I Left The Zoo", which was produced by Dennis Herring. [cite web |title= If I Left the Zoo Credits| url= http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:3xfyxqwkldfe~T2 | accessdate= 2008-03-23] The record earned the band their second Grammy award. It was during this time that touring drummer Scott Savage left the band's touring group to play for Jaci Velasquez and was replaced by Joe Porter. Lead radio single, "Unforgetful You", was also featured on the soundtrack to the motion picture "Drive Me Crazy". [Jars of Clay. (1999). Unforgetful You. [http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00001O2UF/ Drive Me Crazy] . [CD] . Jive.]


In 2001, the four members of the band received honorary degrees at Greenville College. [cite web |title= Jars Of Clay - Jars Of Clay Receive Honorary Diplomas | url=http://www.caaccm.com/artists/artist_news.asp?display=article&artist_id=10&id=99&printer=1 | accessdate= 2008-03-22] However, only three of them, Haseltine, Lowell, and Mason had studied at the college before dropping out in 1994 to move to Nashville, while Odmark still received an honorary degree, despite having attended university in New York. [Jars of Clay. (2005). We Were Becoming One With the Mud. [http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=87021915&s=143441 iTunes Originals - Jars of Clay] . [AAC Audio] . Essential Records.]

In 2002, the band self-produced and released their fourth album entitled "The Eleventh Hour", which earned the band a Grammy award for the third year in a row. [cite web |title= Jars Of Clay - Jars of Clay Intimately Involved In The Eleventh Hour | url=http://ccm.caa.com/artists/artist_news.asp?display=article&artist_id=10&id=205&printer=0 | accessdate= 2008-03-22] The album relied on studio musicians and the band's touring musicians to fill in for the band's lack of drummer and bass player.

The year 2003 saw the band taking a look back at their career. The double-disc ' features an acoustic disc and a live disc. The acoustic disc consisted of reworked and rearranged fan favorites, two "The Eleventh Hour" b-sides, and a cover of Adam Again's "Dig". [cite web |title= Jars Of Clay - Furthermore-From the Studio: From the Stage | url=http://ccm.caa.com/artists/artist_news.asp?display=article&artist_id=10&id=250&printer=0 | accessdate= 2008-03-22] The latter was actually intended for a tribute album for Gene Eugene, who had died recently. The live disc features a recent concert recording that include songs from throughout the band's career. The video of this same concert would later be released via DVD on '.

The band continued the acoustic and organic approach that was featured on "Furthermore" for their fifth studio album entitled "Who We Are Instead", which released on November 4, 2003. On the album, the band revisited various styles they had used previously, as well as experimenting with new influences, such as gospel, hymns, and Nickel Creek's "newgrass" style.

In early 2005, the band released "Redemption Songs", a collection of hymns and traditional songs. The band wrote new melodies to some old hymns and rearranged the music for several others. "God Will Lift Up Your Head", reworked as an acoustic rocker, was a hit for the band on Christian radio. They also covered five hymns from the [http://www.igracemusic.com "Indelible Grace" CD series] (a series which originated from the work of Reformed University Fellowship). [cite web|url=http://www.tollbooth.org/2005/reviews/joc.html|title=Redemption Songs|author=Wray, Burton|date=September 10, 2005] In late 2005, the band announced that the writing process for a new studio album was nearing completion, and that they would be returning to the studio to record the album in the spring. This new project, entitled "Good Monsters", was released on September 5, 2006. Backstage at the 2006 GMA Awards, Jars of Clay labelled the album their first ever rock record. [cite web |title= Jars of Clay 2006 Interview, “Good Monsters” | url=http://www.jesusfreakhideout.com/interviews/JarsOfClay2006.asp | accessdate= 2008-03-22] In the September 2006 edition of CCM Magazine, the band credited fellow artist Ashley Cleveland with inspiring the improvisational sound of the album. [cite web |title= Big Monster on Campus| url=http://www.ccmmagazine.com/search/11534414/ | accessdate= 2008-03-23] [Jars of Clay. (2005). A Modern Day Hymn. [http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=87021915&s=143441 iTunes Originals - Jars of Clay] . [AAC Audio] . Essential Records.] The magazine called it "the most profound album the Christian music community has released in years."

Jars of Clay's song "Flood", from their debut album, was used as the theme song to A&E's 2006 documentary "God or the Girl", which tracked the lives of four young men deciding whether to become Catholic priests.

In March 2007, the band announced at a concert in Des Moines, Iowa that they were no longer on Essential Records and would now be releasing music independently. Later, press releases announced the name of their label as Gray Matters, which would be a partnership with Nettwerk Music Group. [cite web| last=Moring| first= Mark |title= Jars of Yule| url=http://www.christianitytoday.com/music/interviews/2007/jarsofclay-1207.html | accessdate= 2008-03-22] Along with the announcement of their new label, the band mentioned that they are planning to record the soundtrack to Sons of Lwala, a documentary about Milton and Fred Ochieng' - brothers from the African village training to be doctors in the States, working to build a clinic in their home town. [cite web|url=http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003599530|title=Jars of Clay Launching Own Label With Nettwerk|publisher=Billboard.com|date=June 15, 2007|author=Price, Deborah Evans] On September 4, 2007, two albums from the band were released simultaneously. The first was a mainstream release of "Live Monsters", which is an EP of live concert recordings of songs that were originally recorded for "Good Monsters". The EP had been previously released through the iTunes Store and through the official Jars of Clay online store. The second album released on this date was a greatest hits album, entitled "The Essential Jars of Clay", which was released through Essential/Legacy. The band's first release through Gray Matters was a Christmas album that was released on October 16, 2007, entitled "Christmas Songs".In Summer of 2007, the song 'Good Monsters' was feautered in the pilot of the television show 'Eli Stone'

On April 1, 2008, Essential Records released the band's third greatest hits album (the second in the past year), entitled "Greatest Hits".

On July 29, 2008, Grey Matters Records released their latest record Closer EP exclusively through online digital music stores. It was subsequently released on CD on August 19, 2008.

Blood:Water Mission

Lead singer Dan Haseltine visited Africa in 2002, which in turn inspired the founding of , a non-profit organization created to raise awareness and money for the poverty and AIDS stricken regions of the continent. [cite web |title= Why We’re Here| url=http://www.bloodwatermission.com/?em1204=43910l | accessdate= 2008-03-22] The name is derived from, as Haseltine says, "The two things Africa needs most" - clean blood and clean water. The mission has begun the 1000 Wells project, an effort to have a thousand new wells built throughout Africa. [cite web |title= What We’re Doing| url=http://www.bloodwatermission.com/?em1204=43911 | accessdate= 2008-03-22]


In a 2002 interview with NPR's Scott Simon on "Weekend Edition Saturday", responding to a question about the relatively subtle religious content of their music, Haseltine said, "our songs ... [are] not really there to explain our faith," but are "written about our life that is affected by our faith." Haseltine explained the decision to "shy away from ... traditional religious language" as a conscious one, in part to make their music more accessible to those "put off by religion", and to "love people in a way that isn't exclusive to simply people that understand the language of Christianity." [http://www.npr.org/programs/wesat/features/2002/march/jars/ NPR "Weekend Edition Saturday" interview] ] Haseltine also stated that art can "make people feel what's true rather than telling them".

Band members

Current members

*Dan Haseltine – vocals, percussion, melodica
*Charlie Lowellpiano, organ, accordion, keys, background vocals
*Stephen Masonguitar, vocals, bass, lap and pedal steel, national, mandolin, background vocals
*Matthew Odmark – acoustic guitar, banjo, background vocals

Former member

*Matt Bronleeweguitar (1993–94)

Current touring members

*Gabe Ruschival – bass (2006–present)
*Jeremy Lutito – drums (2005–present)

Former touring members

*Aaron Sands – bass (1995–2005)
*Joe Porter – drums (1999–2005)
*Scott Savage – drums (1995–99)


Jars of Clay has released several albums, EPs and special edition versions of a few albums. Various releases (but not all) by the band are:

*"Jars of Clay" (October 24, 1995)
*"Much Afraid" (September 16, 1997)
*"If I Left the Zoo" (November 9, 1999)
*"The Eleventh Hour" (March 5, 2002)
*"" (February 4, 2003)
*"Who We Are Instead" (November 4, 2003)
*"Redemption Songs" (March 22, 2005)
*"Good Monsters" (September 5, 2006)
*"Christmas Songs" (October 16, 2007)
*"Greatest Hits" (April 1, 2008)
*"Closer EP" (July 29, 2008 [download] ; August 19, 2008 [CD] )


Jars of Clay has been successful in being nominated for and winning several awards, including prestigious Grammy Awards and several of the Christian music awards, known as the GMA Dove Awards. [cite web |title= Dove Awards| url=http://www.doveawards.com/ | accessdate= 2008-03-22] Some of these successes have been collaborative efforts, including two "City on a Hill" albums and the for the 2005 film "". The group has won five Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) awards.


External links

* [http://www.jarsofclay.com Jars of Clay official website]
* [http://www.jarsofclay.com/tourjournal Jars of Clay official blog] – news, notes, and experiences from the road
* [http://www.jarchives.com Jarchives ] – fan site with an active forum community
* [http://www.jarsworld.com The Jars World] – one of the oldest Jars of Clay fan sites
* [http://www.jarsblog.com Jarsblog] – unofficial news blog
* [http://www.bloodwatermission.com Blood:Water Mission] – non-profit relief organization founded by Jars of Clay
* [http://www.npr.org/programs/wesat/features/2002/march/jars/ NPR interview from the "Eleventh Hour" era]

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