Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gimme Shelter

Jars of Clay Presents The Shelter, the eleventh studio release by Grammy award winning folk-rock band Jars of Clay, is a return to the raw sound of frail, or as some call it, their Self Titled debut, which released way back in 1995, that initially drew many fans with its unique sound.  If it were not already called The Shelter it could have been named Jars of Clay and Friends, due to its abundance of guest vocalists and musicians.
  1. Small Rebellions (feat. Brandon Heath)
  2. Call My Name (feat. Thad Cockrell, Audrey Assad)
  3. We Will Follow (feat. Gungor)
  4. Eyes Wide Open (feat. Mac Powell, Derek Webb, and Burlap to Cashmere)
  5. Shelter (feat. Toby Mac, Audrey Assad, Brandon Heath)
  6. Out of My Hands (feat. Mike Donehey, Leigh Nash)
  7. No Greater Love
  8. Run in the Night (feat. Thad Cockrell) 
  9. Lay it Down (feat. David Crowder, Dawn Richardson)
  10. Love will find us (feat. Sara Groves, Matt Maher)
  11. Benediction (feat. Amy Grant)
No, I didn't make a mistake. Remarkably, No Greater Love is the only classic Jars of Clay song on the CD.  That's neither good or bad. It simply is. Someone already wrote that part of the fun with albums of this kind is to see if you can pick out the guests. I think I did fairly poorly in this regard, because I only could pick out the more obvious ones (Mac Powell's accent is obvious, a don't blink or you'll miss it Toby Mac, Leigh Nash's high pitched vocals, and the guitar work of Burlap to Cashmere). Some of it was because I am not familiar with the artist (Thad Cockrell, Dawn Richardson, Matt Maher, Audrey Assad), but for the most part it was due to the fact that their parts were not distinct other than in the case of Assad, Groves, Richardson and Grant, you knew it was a female voice. Note: After the original post, I discovered that Dawn Richardson is the maiden name of Dawn Michele, the lead vocalist of Fireflight. I sincerely regret the error or the fact I didn't recognize her voice.

This is a unique sort of album, and it's hard to play favorites with the tracks. I have come to enjoy a 4 song grouping though, tracks 4-7.  I guess it's because I like Mac's voice. Shelter seems like it was designed for a church choir, and I guess I've missed Sixpence NTR recently.  And Jars, well, they're Jars, what's not to like?

I'm giving The Shelter 4.5 Emeralds, and it will certainly make the Fall 2010/1st Quarter Platinum Vinyl Awards nominations for 2011. A great album.