Grammy and Dove Awards-winning band Jars of Clay has celebrated 20 years of music by releasing a uniquely special, fan-curated retrospective double-album of re-recorded favorites and two new songs, appropriately named '20'. The acclaimed, 20-song recording was released independently this week.
In the 20 years since Dan Haseltine, Stephen Mason, Charlie Lowell and Matthew Odmark released their debut album 'Frail', Jars of Clay sold millions of albums and received Grammy, American Music and Dove Awards and nominations, 16 No. 1 songs and major television and film song placements, while also appearing on all the major late night talk shows and entertainment magazines.
During the journey, the band has always leaned forward and focused on what their next creative endeavor could be. Each new album has pushed off in a new direction from the previous one, showing a trend of transformation that has become a calling card of the band. With '20', they now have taken a moment to look back over what they've created.
"This has been the most extended period of time that we've been able to musically reflect on what we've done over the last twenty years," summarizes rhythm guitarist Odmark.
Remakes of earlier songs and movies often fall short of evoking the same spark that made them popular in the first place, but Jars of Clay have discovered rich treasures hidden in previous works during their two-decade career. By allowing the fans to say which songs they would do and allowing themselves to decide how they would do them, balancing out the essence of the original version with where the band is now, the adventurous '20' ends up feeling both nostalgic and new, simultaneously looking back and facing forward.
Many of the band's remakes received a 'sonic sprucing up' that reflects the current ethos of the band. The original version of 'God Will Lift Up Your Head', for example, now sports a punk rock energy, with jazz flavored polyrhythmic drum-and-bass grooves. Conversely, Jars of Clay's original, acoustic driven 'Love Song', has a more relaxed, airy feel with stark piano chords and a cinematic string section.