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The Shelter

Jars of Clay

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iTunes Review

Jars of Clay’s The Shelter takes its title from the old Irish proverb, “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.” The veteran folk/pop combo captures this theme by making the album a communal project with the aid of a veritable who’s who of Christian artists. The songs here lyrically blend a modern sense of angst and yearning with timeless messages of faith. Driving acoustic guitars, galloping dance beats and touches of retro-synthesizer lend these tracks an idiosyncratic yet accessible sound. It’s the guest vocalists that give The Shelter its real impact, though. Mac Powell, tobyMac, Sara Groves, Brandon Heath, and Leigh Nash are among the luminaries who join JoC lead singer Dan Haseltine in songs of praise and reverence. David Crowder and Fireflight’s Dawn Richardson help infuse “Lay It Down” with fiery passion, while Amy Grant adds to the sweetly contemplative tone of “Benediction.” The album’s title track gathers a full choir to lift up the tune to soaring heights. The Shelter is a unified and moving statement of transcendent faith.

Customer Reviews

Christian Rock

This album will be Jars' most successful in recent years, and its most successful bar none among the CCM market. The band has even added a section on their website for worship leaders and worship music.

Needless to say, this is a disappointment. What happened to the band who could frame the most elliptical and emotionally naked searching lyrics in a pair of guitars and a church organ or piano? They got out of their contract, built their own studio, and have been wandering in self-indulgent sonic textures cascading over children's-music melodies, ever since.

If you want to be reaffirmed in your religious beliefs, you will love this album. Ditto if you want to have new songs to sing in your worship services. I for one will put on If I Left the Zoo or Who We Are Instead and listen to "River Constantine" and "Jealous Kind".

Art

A lot of reviewers seem to be bashing Jars of Clay for having a new sound. It is absurd to expect them to keep the same sound over decades. This music is their artform. They are artists. They express their hearts in music. Asking their music to stay the same is asking them not to grow in their relationships with Christ. Also, this is a collaboration album, so they are incorporating the sounds (and hearts) of many other artists as well. I'm glad it doesn't sound like the old Jars of Clay.

Now that we are looking at this album for what it is, not what it isn't, I can say that this is a wonderful release for the Christian music scene. This sort of artistic solidarity in music is unseen in any other genre. As far as talent is concerned, I don't think that question even needs to be raised. All of these artists have shown us their musical gifts before and they combine in a wonderful way. The main message of the album ("In the shelter of each other / we will live") is something that our nation of individualism needs to hear. We were created for community. Jesus came and lived in community. God IS community within Himself. This idea that we have to make it on our own is completely non-biblical. It is true that nobody else can accept God's gift for us, but once we accept that gift we are commanded to live in community. And what a blessing that is!

Great album, great message, great collaboration, and great new sound.

Cuts to the Heart of Humantiy

Have always been a Jars fan since the beginning. Every album is interesting and unique in its own way. But this album...this album cuts to the deepest part of the human condtion. Opening the heart to realize that there is a story in every person and allows us to rocognize the importance in combining our stories, our love, and our brokeness to form The Shelter in the storm. I really enjoy all the collaborations they've included, really bringing home the idea of connectedness. Another album that I will keep on repeat for the next year.

Biography

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...
Full Bio
The Shelter, Jars of Clay
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