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, Amy Grant and Mike Donehey (of Tenth Avenue North).
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Small Rebellions (featuring Brandon Heath)
Call My Name (featuring Thad Cockrell, Audrey Assad)
We Will Follow (featuring Gungor)
Eyes Wide Open (featuring Mac Powell, Derek Webb, Burlap To Cashmere)
#5 Album Of 2010| Posted December 21, 2010
I can't get enough of this album. I haven't been able to say that of many Jars of Clay releases. They seem to be incredibly hit or miss for me, but this year's The Shelter just blew me away. The concept, bringing together a community of as many artists that would come (so it seems) produced an album that lives up to its call by sounding bigger, having greater purpose and feels more completely realized than past projects.
The Shelter features an 11-voice choir and appearances from 15 fellow artists including Brandon Heath, Mac Powell, Amy Grant and Mike Donehey (of Tenth Avenue North) who contribute their voices on top of the stripped down, acoustic folk style that Jars has embraced in recent years. The entire album has a very organic feel to it, almost like you're listening in to a living room jam session with some of Christian music elite's music makers.
Some of the highlights on the album include "We Will Follow," "Shelter" and the first single, "Out Of My Hands."
Jars of Clay [The Shelter]| Posted September 28, 2010 [MAIN REVIEW]
Acclaimed for its music and leadership as humanitarians, Jars of Clay gears up for the October 5th release of its community-inspired project, Jars of Clay Presents The Shelter. The four men at the heart of the project – Dan Haseltine, Charlie Lowell, Matt Odmark and Stephen Mason – find their calendars filling up with appearances designed to shed light on the new project, inspired from an old Irish proverb, “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” I am a long-time fan of Jars of Clay and credit the Gospel messages from their landmark debut album for leading me to my salvation, for which I’m eternally grateful. I was amazed that as I was still savoring The Long Fall Back To Earth and trying to guess which single would be next from that incredible album, I heard about The Shelter. At first, I couldn’t image how they would follow-up what I considered their all-time best album, and yet again they continue to surprise and amaze me with their song-writing, music and lyrical messages and in this case, their collaborations. For anyone who has always wanted to hear Jars of Clay sing with a “who’s who list” in Christian music, here’s your chance. Mac Powell, Amy Grant, Brandon Heath, David Crowder, Audrey Assad, TobyMac, Mike Donehey, Sara Groves, Derek Webb and Leigh Nash all appear on this album, among others.
For me, there are several 5 star songs that give glimpses of the excellence of this 5 star album. All of these songs now rank in my all-time favorite songs by Jars of Clay. The album opens with the call to action song, “Small Rebellions” which features Brandon Heath. The song includes the ultra-catchy and convicting chorus “If our days could be filled with small rebellions, senseless brutal acts of kindness from us all.” The song truly sets the tone for this incredible album.“ Dan says, “Any act that fights against isolation is the greatest form of counterculture. The greatest risks we take are the ones that prove we are implicated in each others stories.” “Call My Name” features Thad Cockrell and Audrey Assad and is the most vertical worship song on the album. Matt says, “To think that God knows us by name has deep and far-reaching implications. To actually hear Him use it changes everything.” “We Will Follow” begins with the amazing lyrics “In the valley of the cross where my first love died” which leads to the convicting “where You lead us we will follow.” The song features Michael and Lisa Gungor singing along with the band. This is a match made in heaven and for me is the stand-out song on the album. I would love to sing this song with fellow believers. “Eyes Wide Open” has a very classic Jars of Clay folk-oriented sound and features Mac Powell and Derek Webb. This song could totally have appeared on the City On A Hill compilations and will most likely emerge as a hit song as it is catchy and very engaging. Charlie says “Our desire is to be in a conversation- about love, hope, the life of Jesus- not to figure out answers and put people in boxes. God, keep us in the process, with open eyes and hearts.”
“Shelter” is an incredible song with a wonderful chorus “in the shelter of each other we will live” and Audrey Assad’s background vocals on the chorus are absolutely excellent. TobyMac and Brandon Heath also appear on the song with Toby echoing “we will live.” This song also seems destined to be a hit and I can’t get enough of it. I plan to make the song my new ringtone replacing “Two Hands” as my new favorite anthem by Jars of Clay. “Out Of My Hands” was released as a single and features Mike Donehey and Leigh Nash, another amazing vocal combination. The lyrics are totally compelling, “It’s out of my hands, it was from the start in light of what You’ve done for me.” Steve says, “It's humbling to know in our lowest moments that God's purposes are made complete in and through our weakness not our strength.” “Lay It Down” features David Crowder and Dawn Michele. This has become one of my favorite songs on the album, especially the rocking guitar solo. A perfect song in my opinion and I can’t wait to hear Jars of Clay play the song in concert. The album closes brilliantly with “Benediction” featuring Amy Grant. The song finishes the invitation to go out and literally be the hands and feet of Jesus to those we encounter. “Go into the world showing how much He loves you.”
The stand-out songs for me on this brilliant 5 star album are “Small Rebellions,” “Call My Name,” “We Will Follow,” “Eyes Wide Open,” “Shelter,” “Out Of My Hands,” “Lay It Down” and “Benediction.” Once again, Jars of Clay has released their newest “best” album and are at the top of their profession right now in my opinion. My best description of the album is The Eleventh Hour meets Redemption Songs splashed with City On A Hill style all-star guest vocalist appearances and worship focused lyrics. While celebrated for its music and writing, Jars of Clay is most concerned with the needs in Africa. Compelled to make a difference, the group successfully launched the Blood:Water Mission, a non-profit organization promoting clean blood and water in Africa.
The Shelter Album Review From Jars Of Clay| Posted October 30, 2010
This is a awesome new album from Jars Of Clay. I loved every single on this album. My most favorite song would be Out Of My Hands. It is also awesome that this album featured Christian artists like Mac Powell from Third Day, Dawn Richardson from Fireflight, tobyMac, Leigh Nash from Sixpence None The Richer, Amy Grant, Brandon Heath, and many more. That is what makes this album one of the best albums from Jars Of Clay. If your a fan of Jars Of Clay or love music from Jars Of Clay then check out this album. I am sure you will also love the featured artists on this album too. Check it out as soon as you can.
Truly Amazing| Posted September 04, 2010
It has been a long journey for me and the band mates of Jars of Clay. I don't say this as I know them, I say this as a avid fan of the band that brought me to Christ. I'll try to be objective as possible in this review, but I am forewarning you that it will be hard to do so.
"The Shelter" starts off will "Small Rebellions," a gentle rocker tainted with the sonic sounds of "The Long Fall Back to Earth (TLFBE henceforth)." Heath's voice blends well with Dan's, and this has to be one of the best opening songs I have heard from Jars since "Liquid," and "Work." The chorus sets the tone for the album with verses such as "Senseless brutal acts of kindness from our song," and "If we stand between the fear and firm foundation/Push against the current and the fall." This track lets you know that you are in for a treat, and that Jars is truly going to bless you again with their God-given talents.
Up next is "Call My Name," which has a tune reminiscent of "The Eleventh Hour" days. Thad and Audrey are great additions to this confession of faith: "I will wait in the darkest hours, for You will be the light." It is fitting that "We Will Follow" is next as these two songs are compliments of each other. "We Will Follow" is sure to be the anthem of authentic Christians worldwide. You can conclude from these two songs that we realize that God will take care of us, and because He will we have the capability to follow Him where ever He wants us to go. The verse I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me comes to mind. If you are not sensing a theme of this album, you will shortly.
Next up is "Eyes Wide Open;" a song tainted with a little Third Day and "If I Left the Zoo," flair. While not one of my favorites, one cannot walk away from this without tapping their feet or wanting to start clapping along; the tune is that infectious. This song is all out fun with a deep meaning.
The title track is next, and you cannot listen to this song with out being moved in someway. "In the shelter of each other/we will live/we live," captures the true essence of Christian community and really hits home that we are not in this walk alone. Toby adds his signature flair and helps make this song the best of the CD. If it becomes a single, it will sell like hot chocolate in a snow storm.
The first single is "Out of My Hands," and is probably the only song on this CD that sounds like it would fit nicely on TLFBE. However, despite this distinction, there is nothing more humbling than admitting that we are not in control. If we are truly to be authentic followers of Christ, and truly be the body, we must admit it is not about us and that it is all about God. This song captures this beautifully, and is another highlight of the album. "No Greater Love," up next, has an old school feel to it, and again compliments the song before it.
"Run in the Night" is probably the only "weak" song on this album. The lyrics are strong, but I don't believe they fit the tune of the song. I would render this song interesting to say the least. It okay, folks, because "Lay it Down" picks the album back up. You would think that Crowder would influence this song in terms of song structure, but that does not happen on this rocker; rather Dawn's and his voice strengthen the chorus of this song.
Another highlight comes with "Love Will Find Us," which again has an old school feel. Sara and Matt add a great dynamic to this mellow song.
Last comes "Benediction" which I truly believe is telling us "okay you heard these songs, now go live this out. it's one thing to listen to our music, it's other to actually be what you listen to." I love Amy's voice on this song, and she blends nicely with Dan. I don't see how you cannot get a sense to be the change, or to live this message out after hearing this song.
This is truly an amazing CD and will challenge Third Day's "Move" for the top CD of the fall. At first I was little worried about the whole concept of guest vocalists and songwriters, but I feel that without this dynamic, this CD would be nowhere as great as it is. It is a call back to true authentic Christian community set to music. Some of my favorites are "Small Rebellions," "We Will Follow," "Open My Hands," "Shelter," and "Lay it Down." However, (despite "Run in the Night) it will be hard to find a bad song on this collection; truly a blessing of a CD.
Album of The Year| Posted October 17, 2010
Ever since the release of their debut album way back in 1995, legendary Christian music figures Jars of Clay have consistently delivered magical music. I remember first being introduced to their music on the release of their first album. With hits like "Flood", "Liquid" and "Love Song For A Saviour" this album gained enormous popularity for the band. Since then the guys have released ten more studio albums. After not even two years since their last excellent album, Jars of Clay are back with their latest beautiful worship collaboration titled The Shelter. Can the guys from Jars produce another album full of magic as they have done for the past 17 years?
Musically, The Shelter is not that different from The Long Fall Back to Earth, but in another way it is an entirely new collection compared to their past albums. The main difference is that there are an array of special guests featured in most of the songs. For a moment you might be thinking to yourself "Is this a Jars of Clay album or a Brandon Heath album", but multiple listens will soon wipe this thought from you mind. This new album was inspired by an old Irish proverb that when translated says "It is in the shelter of each other that the people live." The combination of talent from artists such as tobyMac, Brandon Heath, David Crowder, Mac Powell and Audrey Assad (to name a few) with Jars of Clay creates the atmosphere that the band had in mind; writing worship songs that reach out to the people and community around us. Lyrically, The Shelter is a superior force. The album is a beautiful collection of beautiful worship songs that are appropriate to sing with each other; in a folk and acoustic manner. Track 3 "We Will Follow" is a good example. I can just picture a group of people standing together in a house looking up to the sky and singing this song with passion. It just has that sort of feel to it.
There are no tracks that really lack from this album. There are a couple of standouts that just have to be mentioned here. One of them is the title track "Shelter". This track features tobyMac, new artist Audrey Assad and Brandon Heath. The vocals and harmonies are excellent as the guest artists and Dan Haseltine echo together, "In the shelter of each other, we will live, we will live..." The only downside of this song is that the vocals of tobyMac are hardly noticeable, but his gentle "background noise" are still a great addition.
Another standout track is the first single "Out Of My Hands". This song features the familiar voice of Mike Donehey from Tenth Avenue North. The two sing in unison, "It's out of my hands..... you set me apart". They are singing in amazement of God's decision to choose us as his people.
The most aggressive track off the album would have to be "No Greater Love". Amazingly, this track doesn't feature any guest artists. This song is then placed in contrast with "Eyes Wide Open" (feat. Mac Powell, Derek Webb, Burlap to Cashmere) which has layed back folk/acoustic guitar strumming and clapping beats. Yes, Jars of Clay covers enough areas of sound to keep you hooked on the album's fishing rod without letting go.
The Shelter is an amazing forty-eight minutes of listening pleasure. I just adore the idea of reaching out the community around us who desperately need God's love, instead of containing ourselves inside a church building and singing without much purpose. This album never lets you down both lyrically and musically and that's what you can expect from Jars of Clay. You don't even have to think twice before buying this album because you won't be disappointed. Jars of Clay have once again pulled off another golden offering as they have done throughout their whole career. It is without a doubt that this is now the best album of the year so far.
This Will Be Huge!| Posted September 28, 2010
This is the best music of their career and probably the best Christian album to be released in quite some time! This album is filled with Christian anthems that will inspire!
My only disappointment is that I heard Jon Foreman contributed on a song but he's nowhere to be found, oh well....
I will rate each song (10 being the highest)
Small Rebellions 10
Call My Name 8
We Will Follow 10
Eyes Wide Open 9
Out Of My Hands 9
No Greater Love 8.5
Run In The Night 8
Lay It Down 9
Love Will Find Us 7.5
Thank You| Posted September 28, 2010
Thank you for allowing this CD as a free listening option this week. I have been a fan of Jars of Clay and was looking forward to this release. For some reason this particular release did not appeal to me as much as ones in the past have. It is good but probably not something I would reach for with my large Christian music collection.
Different can be good.| Posted September 25, 2010 The Shelter comes off at first as the Jars of Clay version of City on a Hill with Jars as the backup band for the whole album. All the guest vocalist bring a very different feel and sound to this record. It takes a few listens to listen through all the different layers and vocals on the album and start to enjoy this record. Many fans will be disappointed with the album at first but keep listening and you will find this album growing on you and you growing to love it.