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Furthermore: From the Studio, From the Stage

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Album Review

With four studio releases to its credit, Jars of Clay returns with Furthermore, a two-disc set that features a disc of live material plus an entire disc of reworked material and three new tracks. One could be a bit apprehensive about a band whose sound is already traditionally "unplugged" and stripped down to begin with. How could a band like this rework songs and offer anything new to the listener? Starting with the "From the Studio" disc, the band kicks things off with its mega hit, "Overjoyed." Stripped down and laid-back, the Jars add a jazzy piano to the mix, changing the complexion of the song completely. "Liquid" is transformed with elegance and grace. The cut's prior mode featured violins and chants kick-starting the intro, while the latter uses pianos and acoustic guitars to turn the cut into a moving, emotional ballad. "Dig" is one of the new tunes on the release. Originally done by Adam Again, the song has a somber vibe that sends the listener into a melancholy orbit, truly stirring the soul. Other cuts of note from the studio disc include "Love Song for a Savior," which retains the singalong qualities of the original while breaking into a Seals & Crofts mode on the verse, and "Frail," which reflects its predecessor but becomes much richer with the acoustics and vocals out front. What you get with the studio disc is a coffeehouse vibe that exudes coolness. It's truly Jars of Clay at its finest moment.

The second disc ("From the Stage") features the band live from its Eleventh Hour tour. Cuts like "Disappear" and "Crazy Times" translate well into the live setting. Vocalist Dan Haseltine had developed stronger chops over the previous few years, helping to breed cuts full of energy and flavor, while guitarist Matt Odmark blazes midsong on "Crazy Times." "I'm Alright" is a cut with energy and funk. The tune bolsters incredibly soulful background vocals while keyboardist Charlie Lowell uses his Hammond B-3 to bring the cut into the sanctuary with gospel flair. "Flood" is the band's crowning achievement as a live concert staple. The Jars play the tune very close to the vest. The complexities and orchestral bridge of "Flood" are enough to warrant the tune as is, and the band pulls it off flawlessly. Furthermore is a disc that does not come off as a collection of retreads, but as a crowning achievement for the fans. On one hand you're pulled into the most intimate of coffeehouses for disc one, while soaking up the energy of an outstanding live performance on disc two. Truly the best of both worlds.


Formed: 1993 in Greenville, IL

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Jars of Clay were the breakout band of the so-called alternative CCM movement of the '90s, scoring an enormous mainstream hit with the debut single "Flood" and enjoying platinum sales. The group's lyrics may have been exclusively Christian, but their acoustic-oriented music fit perfectly into the folky jangle pop wing of alternative rock radio, at the time a rarity on the contemporary Christian music scene. Such success set the stage for breakthroughs by Christian bands like dc Talk and Sixpence...
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Furthermore: From the Studio, From the Stage, Jars of Clay
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