Artist: Jars Of Clay
Label: Gray Matters
Release Date: August 19, 2014
Duration: 20 tracks, 1:28:46
This 20 song collection (18 songs selected by fans through pleadgemusic.com and two new songs one of which was previously release on a multi-artist sampler) celebrates Jars of Clay 20th anniversary as a band. Nearly all songs are acoustic based interpretations, with an elaborate use of strings, and well produced as is usual for a Jars album.
The following brief description provides highlights by tune:
- “Fade To Gray” - great build up from quiet acoustic to orchestrated and strong acoustic rhythm make this a great opener.
- “Trouble Is” – deeper and darker than the original.
- “Something Beautiful” – a smooth snare drum roll stays the foundation for the piano and vocals.
- “Worlds Apart” – slower, lighter, dream-like.
- “I Need Thee” – a slightly bolder portrayal of the old hymn.
- “Tea and Sympathy” – smoother and very heartfelt, hits even deeper than the original. Beatles-like with latent, heavy strings. Always a showcase for Haseltine’s vocal qualities.
- “Boys” – quiet and simple with easy acoustic backing.
- “Silence” – like Worlds Apart, slower, lighter, dream-like.
- “Dead Man” – playful version with acoustic guitar and synth giving a new face. More Beatles-like than most.
- “No One Loves Me Like You” – playful and light with great play between piano and acoustic guitar.
- “Collide” – awesome build up with hard-stroked piano and strong, strong rhythm.
- “Oh My God” – lighter fare with solid, deep strings. Like so many Jars classics, Haseltine’s vocals again lead the message.
- “Jealous Kind” – quiet entry with play between piano and vocals at its best. Backing violin brings home the heart breaking message.
- “Safe To Land” – quiet and wandering.
- “God Will Lift Up Your Head” – very different version with big breaks to slow down fast pace while smoothly starting up again.
- “Inland” – big percussion gives a world music feel.
- “Ghost In The Moon” – new tune, previously released on sampler. Deep and dark with heavy percussion and harsh guitar accompanying desperate lead vocals and haunting backing vocals.
- “Love In Hard Times” – deeper meaning from a more folk-like melody.
- “If You Love Her” – new tune, soft and heart-felt.
- “Love Song” – heavenly, a walk through the stars.
Another ‘Best Of?' ABSOLUTELY NOT! With a new, different, and often better face to the members of this collection, the collective is as important to the long-term fan as it is for the Jars newcomer. Although a few songs come off to mellow, this collection and its new twist on original songs plus two new tunes is a must.
Scott S Mertens