Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jars of Clay

Jars of Clay is a Christian rock band from Nashville, Tennessee. This band consists of Dan Haseltine on vocals, Charlie Lowell on piano and keyboards, Stephen Mason on lead guitar and Matthew Odmark on rhythm guitar. Although the band has no permanent drummer or bassist, Jeremy Lutito and Gabe Ruschival of Disappointed By Candy fill these roles for live concerts. Past tour band members include Aaron Sands, Scott Savage, and Joe Porter. Jake Goss was recently added to the band to play drums for their summer tour. Jars of Clay's style is a blend of alternative rock, folk, acoustic, and R&B. The band's name is derived from the New International Version's translation of 2 Corinthians 4:7: But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Dan Haseltine, Steve Mason, Charlie Lowell, and Matt Bronleewe formed Jars of Clay at Greenville College, in Greenville, Illinois in the early 1990s. Charlie Lowell first met Dan Haseltine after noticing that he was wearing a Toad the Wet Sprocket shirt. Pursuing a career in music together was not necessarily their original goal, some of the first songs they wrote together were for music and recording classes they were taking at the time. Their second guitarist Matt Bronleewe joined some time later, and drummer Joseph Quevedo occasionally joined them for some of their early public performances. While in college playing together at local Christian coffee houses, Jars of Clay gained quite a reputation for their very original arrangement of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", which had been adapted to the tune of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit".

In 1994, the band submitted a demo to a talent competition run by the Gospel Music Association and were selected as finalists. They traveled to Nashville to perform and won the contest. Back in Greenville, they self-released a limited-run of the same demo, which they named Frail, after their song of the same name. The buzz from their performance in Nashville and the demo's popularity resulted in offers from record labels, so the band decided to drop school and move to Nashville. At this time, Bronleewe left the band to finish school and settle down with his fiancee. He was replaced with Matt Odmark, Lowell's childhood friend.

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