TBT: Jars Of Clay

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I can’t remember ever being more excited about a new artist than I was about Jars of Clay. In 1994 I was in Nashville as part of a record company promotion. There were a dozen or so radio guys there to catch concerts from some of Essential Records new artists. Near the end of the trip the label had all of us radio guys in a conference room and they played a couple of songs from a CD.

The songs were rough cuts from the newest act Essential had signed. Four guys who had met and formed a band while attending Greenville College in Illinois. It was Jars of Clay. It took the label until late October of 1995 to release the first album, “Jars of Clay.”  I finally got to see them live in concert about a year later.

In 2007 I was working for a cable TV network and we did a series of Christmas concert specials, “Christmas At Union Station.” There were five shows in all, shot at Nashville’s historic Union Station, by then a Wyndham hotel. All of the shows were hosted by Matthew West. The artists included former American Idol contestants George Huff and Mandisa headlining one episode, Trin-i-tee 5:7 and Take 6 in another, Natalie Grant got her own show, and Jars of Clay. The fifth episode was a compilation of the best from each of those shows.

Jars of Clay had just finished up a Christmas album, “Christmas Songs,” and performed most of the song from that LP on the TV special. I couldn’t find any video from that show, but I did manage to find a fan video of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.”

“Flood” from their 1995 debut LP, “Jars of Clay.” The song got some mainstream attention, reaching #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. That album went double platinum and included 5 singles on Christian radio.

“Five Candles (You Were There)” from the 1997 “Much Afraid” album. The album went platinum and debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200 chart. The song “Five Candles (You Were There) was originally written for the soundtrack of the Jim Carrey movie “Liar Liar” but was cut when a blooper reel was used during the end credits. It later was used on the soundtrack of the Michael Keaton film, “Jack Frost.”

“Unforgetful You” from the 1999 album “If I Left The Zoo.” The album was certified gold and reached #44 on the Billboard 200 chart. The song was featured in the 1999 Melissa Joan Hart movie “Drive Me Crazy.”

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