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Jars Of Clay

Band history


Dan Haseltine, Steve Mason, Charlie Lowell and Justin Gabriel formed Jars of Clay at Greenville College, in Greenville, Illinois in the early 1990s. Charlie Lowell first met Dan Haseltine 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 Joseph Quevedo occasionally joined them for some of their early public performances. While in college playing together at local Christian coffee houses, Jars gained quite a reputation for their very original arrangement of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” which had been deftly adapted to the tune of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

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 fiance. He was replaced with Matt Odmark, Lowell’s childhood friend and fellow McQuaid Jesuit High School alum.

Jars of Clay performing at The University of Texas at Austin.

Jars of Clay & Drummer Boy EP

Jars of Clay signed with Essential Records and started recording their first full-length studio album, titled Jars of Clay. King Crimson prog-rocker Adrian Belew heard the band and offered to produce, leading to him producing two songs – “Liquid” and “Flood”. 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. “Flood” peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #12 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart, and was the band’s only secular radio hit.

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 fundamentalist Christian groups. 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.

Much Afraid

The year 1997 also saw the release of the band’s sophomore album, Much Afraid, which was produced by Stephen Lipson. The album sold very well and went on to earn a Grammy award for “Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album”. The album has since earned platinum certification by the RIAA. They released two music videos for this album, Crazy Times and Five Candles (You Were There).

If I Left The Zoo

In 1999, Jars of Clay released their third album, If I Left The Zoo, which was produced by Dennis Herring. 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. “Collide” was also featured on the motion picture “Hometown Legend”. Upon the release of If I Left The Zoo they also released Front Yard Luge and after a year The White Elephant Sessions. If I Left The Zoo so far has the most single released by Jars of Clay.

In 2001, the four members of the band received honorary degrees at Greenville College. 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.

The Eleventh Hour

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 album in a row. 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.

Furthermore & Who We Are Instead

The year 2003 saw the band taking a look back at their career. The double-disc Furthermore: From the Studio, From the Stage 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”. 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 11Live: Jars of Clay in Concert.

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.

Redemption Songs

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 Indelible Grace CD series (a series which originated from the work of Reformed University Fellowship).

Good Monsters

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 labeled the album their first ever rock record. In the September 2006 edition of CCM Magazine, the band credited fellow artist Ashley Cleveland with inspiring the improvisational sound of the album. The magazine called it “the most profound album the Christian music community has released in years.”

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.

On April 1, 2008, Essential Records released the band’s third greatest hits album (the second in the past year), entitled Greatest Hits. Included was the new song “Love is the Protest”.

In Summer of 2007, the song ‘Good Monsters’ was featured in the pilot of the television show ‘Eli Stone’ Additionally, the song ‘Work’ was used in promotional material for the Fox Television network shows ‘Bones’ and ‘House’.

Gray Matters

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. 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.

The band’s first release through Gray Matters was a Christmas album that was released on October 16, 2007, entitled Christmas Songs.

Most recently, the band’s song “Love Came Down at Christmas” was sampled in the Samuel Victor song “Stars and Angels”.

On July 29, 2008, Gray Matters Records released their latest record Closer EP exclusively through online digital music stores. It was subsequently released on CD on August 19, 2008. Closer EP included reworked versions of “Flood” (called “Flood (New Rain)) and “Love Song For A Savior (’08)” from their debut album. It also included “Prisoner of Hope”, which is not found on any other Jars album.

On December 8, 2008, the song “Closer” was featured in the 12th episode of the television show Privileged.

The Long Fall Back To Earth

Jars of Clay’s tenth studio album was released on April 21, 2009. The new record contains 14 songs, including Closer and Safe to Land from the Closer EP, and is influenced by 80s music, specifically Tears For Fears and The Cure. It is entitled The Long Fall Back to Earth.

The song “Hero” was featured on a trailer for NBC’s Kings.

The Long Fall Back To Earth debuted at #29 on the Billboard 200 mainstream charts, which was Jars of Clay’s highest debut since The Eleventh Hour which debuted at #28 in 2002.

The first radio single off the album is “Two Hands”, which peaked at #6 on the Hot Christian Songs chart.

The second single off the album is “Heaven”.

The Long Fall Back To Earth was nominated for the Grammy to the “Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album”, though they didn’t win in the category.

Jars of Clay released the first EP of the “Live at Gray Matters” series in the 5th of February.

Band members

Current members

Dan Haseltine vocals, percussion, melodica

Charlie Lowell piano, organ, accordion, keys, background vocals

Stephen Mason guitar, vocals, bass, lap and pedal steel, national, mandolin, background vocals

Matthew Odmark acoustic guitar, banjo, background vocals

Former member

Matt Bronleewe guitar (199394)

Current touring members

Gabe Ruschival bass (2006resent)

Jake Goss drums (2009resent)

Former touring members

Aaron Sands bass (19952005)

Jeremy Lutito drums (20052009)

Alex Fragiskatos – drums(2008-2009)

Joe Porter drums (19992005)

Scott Savage drums (199599)


Main article: Jars of Clay discography

Studio albums

Jars of Clay (1995)

Much Afraid (1997)

If I Left the Zoo (1999)

The Eleventh Hour (2002)

Furthermore: From the Studio, From the Stage (2003)

Who We Are Instead (2003)

Redemption Songs (2005)

Good Monsters (2006)

Christmas Songs (2007)

The Long Fall Back to Earth (2009)


Main article: List of Jars of Clay awards

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. Some of these successes have been collaborative efforts, including two City on a Hill albums and the inspired collaboration for the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The group has won five Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) awards.

In June 2009, Jars of Clay was named as one of’s first peace heroes.

Blood:Water Mission

Main article: Blood:Water Mission

Lead singer Dan Haseltine visited Africa in 2002, which in turn inspired the founding of Blood:Water Mission, a non-profit organization created to raise awareness and money for the poverty and AIDS stricken regions of the continent. 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.


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.” Haseltine also stated that art can “make people feel what’s true rather than telling them”.


^ a b c d e Jars of Clay. (2005). Making the Grade. iTunes Originals – Jars of Clay. [AAC Audio]. Essential Records.

^ “Jars of Clay Credits”. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 

^ a b Jars of Clay. (2005). The Other Side of Lightning In a Bottle. iTunes Originals – Jars of Clay. [AAC Audio]. Essential Records.

^ a b

^ Lutes, Chris. “Faith Under Fire”. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 

^ “Much Afraid Credits”. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 

^ a b c “The Grammy Awards”. of clay&year=0&genreID=0&hp=1. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 

^ “If I Left the Zoo Credits”. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 

^ Jars of Clay. (1999). Unforgetful You. Drive Me Crazy. [CD]. Jive.

^ “Jars Of Clay – Jars Of Clay Receive Honorary Diplomas”. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 

^ Jars of Clay. (2005). We Were Becoming One With the Mud. iTunes Originals – Jars of Clay. [AAC Audio]. Essential Records.

^ “Jars Of Clay – Jars of Clay Intimately Involved In The Eleventh Hour”. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 

^ “Jars Of Clay – Furthermore-From the Studio: From the Stage”. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 

^ Wray, Burton (September 10, 2005). “Redemption Songs”. 

^ “Jars of Clay 2006 Interview, ood Monsters”. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 

^ “Big Monster on Campus”. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 

^ Jars of Clay. (2005). A Modern Day Hymn. iTunes Originals – Jars of Clay. [AAC Audio]. Essential Records.

^ Moring, Mark. “Jars of Yule”. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 

^ Price, Deborah Evans (June 15, 2007). “Jars of Clay Launching Own Label With Nettwerk”. 

^ Dave Richards (2008-12-11). “Love Coming Down”. Erie Times-News. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 

^ “YouTube – NBC’s TV show “Kings” trailer feat. JARS OF CLAY’s song “Hero””. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 



^ “Dove Awards”. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 


^ “Why Wee Here”. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 

^ “What Wee Doing”. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 

^ a b NPR Weekend Edition Saturday interview

External links

Jars of Clay official website

Jars of Clay official blog news, notes, and experiences from the road

Jarchives fan site with an active forum community

The Jars World one of the oldest Jars of Clay fan sites

Blood:Water Mission non-profit relief organization founded by Jars of Clay

NPR interview from the Eleventh Hour era

v  d  e

Jars of Clay

Band members

Non-member performers

Dan Haseltine  Stephen Mason  Matt Odmark  Charlie Lowell

Jeremy Lutito  Gabe Ruschival

Former: Matt Bronleewe

Former: Scott Savage  Aaron Sands  Joe Porter


Studio Albums: Jars of Clay  Much Afraid  If I Left the Zoo  The Eleventh Hour  Furthermore: From the Studio, From the Stage  Who We Are Instead  Redemption Songs  Good Monsters  Christmas Songs  The Long Fall Back to Earth

Compilation Albums: Jar of Gems  The Essential Jars of Clay  Greatest Hits

Singles: “Flood”  “Liquid”  “Love Song for a Savior”  “Like a Child”  “Worlds Apart”  “Crazy Times”  “Five Candles (You Were There)”  “Fade to Grey”  “Overjoyed”  “Truce”  “Needful Hands”  “Unforgetful You”  “Collide”  “No One Loves Me Like You”  “I’m Alright”  “Hand”  “Can’t Erase It”  “The Stone”  “This Road”  “I Need You”  “Fly”  “Revolution”  “Whatever She Wants”  “The Valley Song (Sing of Your Mercy)”  “Show You Love”  “Sunny Days”  “God Will Lift Up Your Head”  “I’ll Fly Away”  “Waiting for the World to Fall”  “Dead Man (Carry Me)”  “Work”  “There Is a River”   “Closer”   “Two Hands”

Other releases: Frail  Drummer Boy  Stringtown  The White Elephant Sessions  Front Yard Luge  11Live: Jars of Clay in Concert  iTunes Originals  Roots & Wings  Mini Monsters  Live Monsters  Closer EP

See also

Tweed Horse Sessions  List of Awards  Ron Aniello  Adrian Belew  Dennis Herring  Mark Hudson  Stephen Lipson  Greg Wells  “Frail” (song)  City On A Hill  Blood:Water Mission  Essential Records  Gray Matters  Greenville College

Categories: Contemporary Christian music | Grammy Award winners | Musical groups from Illinois | American folk rock groups | 1990s music groups | 2000s music groups | Greenville College | American Christian rock groupsHidden categories: Articles needing additional references from February 2008 | All articles needing additional references

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