Jars of Clay
Jars of Clay is a popular Christian alternative rock group formed while the band members attended Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois, United States in 1992. The group's sound has varied over the years as the band has experimented with pop, folk, rock, trip-hop, gospel, and hymnsong. Their self-titled album featured layered acoustic guitars over programmed trip-hop beats. The song "Flood" was the band's biggest crossover hit, and it hit #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as #12 on the Modern Rock chart.
The following albums saw large shifts in style. Much Afraid saw them releasing gorgeous - sometimes brittle - music, which the Band intended to have a "timeless" sound, while If I Left the Zoo is a quirkier but musically brilliant album, featuring considerably more keys and experimentation. The Eleventh Hour is their first true "rock" album. They returned to acoustic guitars for the "Furthermore" project, which featured two EPs - a live disc and an acoustic disc. The band's 5th album, Who We Are Instead continued some of the band's earlier sonic experiments and showcased some new gospel, bluegrass, and hymnsong influences. The hymnsong approach was continued on an album of new arrangements of classic hymns - Redemption Songs.
Good Monsters was released on Sept. 05, 2006. The album was hailed by CCM Magazine as "Album of the Year" - a controversial move considering that this announcement was made in August. "Good Monsters" further showcases the diverse style of the venerable quartet and is considered by the band to be their first true "rock" record. It is a rock driven record with electric guitars having prevalence on more of the songs than any previous albums. The album also has other stylistic influences and even includes a choir of African school children, while lyrically, it hits the darker side of their self-shaped genre.
In 2007, Jars of Clay announced that they were leaving Essential Records and were creating their own record label, Gray Matters. Jars of Clay released Christmas Songs through Gray Matters in 2007, and the Closer EP was released in the Summer of 2008.