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Americana Flavor In Full Force
Posted January 30, 2008
By KevinMcNeese_NRT, Staff Reviewer


Jars of Clay have often claimed that their records begin with a question. The group's studio release, Who We Are Instead, tackles the issue of who we are truly called to be as Christians in a world that is not our home. Gracefully balancing the mirror themes of joy and suffering, the band maintains their distinctive harmonies and signature guitar sounds while musically exploring gospel, blues, rock and organic influences. While exploration with various sounds is not out of the ordinary for this band (their musical landscape evolves with each release), this is the first time since their 1995 debut that it has felt comfortable from beginning to end. A big surprise on the record lies right in the center. "Trouble Is" captures the Americana flavor of the record in full force, and you can't help but wonder if Jars is toying with the idea of becoming the next Soggy Bottom Boys of O Brother, Where Art Thou. They pull off the southern gospel flavor wonderfully. The standout track on Who We Are Instead is the infectious "Show You Love," one of the best pop singles from the band in recent years. Who We Are Instead fails to provide a song to jam to, but in it's stripped down simplicity you find a peace and joy that is akin to quiet times spent with God. It is there that Jars of Clay lands in the latest offering from a popular group that redefines its sound with each release...this time, for the better.

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