Thursday, August 8, 2013

19 Days of Jars of Clay: 19. Eyes Wide Open

It's no secret how much I love Jars of Clay. Their music is always fulfilling, always fun and unique. It stands out not just in Christian radio, but in any genre of music. For me, most Christian music is the same boring praise and worship style of singing, with very few exceptions (Audrey Assad, Pigeon John and Selah come to mind), but there's something about Jars' music that is truly awe-inspiring.

Perhaps it's lead singer Dan Haseltine's assertion that the band should not be referred to as a Christian band and that they stay out of the praise and worship movement. Or maybe it's just because they're more talented than anyone else in the Christian genre.

When I had a daily column at The Log Cabin Democrat, I made several mentions of them to my readers, including this one: "I wasn't depressed like suicide-depressed, but that summer was full of emptiness: Jars of Clay singlehandedly helped me escape that prison, and reminded me their was someone up there who really cared about me."

Rescuing me from a dark place pretty much guarantees them a top spot in my life.

Back story aside, in 19 days Jars of Clay will release a new album called Inland. The material I've heard from it so far has been nothing short of amazing. I'm almost certain it will end up being my favorite album of all time, the songs have been that good. So to pass the time, I am going to count down my favorite 19 Jars of Clay songs, one per day.

Agree? Disagree? That's fine. This isn't a concrete list, and I'm sure if you made a good case for my rankings being out of sync, I'd admit my own fault. But I'm judging these based on my history with the band and what sounds good to me. The most important thing, dear listener, is to get your hands on this music and listen for yourself.

If they changed my life, I'm sure they'll at least sound great in your stereo.

Here we go!

19. Eyes Wide Open
From the album, "Jars of Clay Presents The Shelter"


This was a really great idea for an album, and for a while was my favorite album. Jars of Clay collaborated with other musicians on nearly every song, and created the ultimate "worship" album. I think every one of these songs could be sung in a church on Sunday morning.

This one in particular is one of my favorites, as Mac Powell's voice (Third Day lead singer) blends so seamlessly with Jars of Clay, Derek Webb and Burlap to Cashmere. After hearing this song, I did start to day dream about a cool project where Powell and Jars lead singer Dan Haseltine switched places and Jars of Clay and Third Day put out new albums with their new lead singer.

The songs lyrics really hit me hard. "I don't believe, most days I don't believe, Mercy is true, it's hard to live with the things I do." It speaks volumes about my faith. Most days I don't have that faith like I should. It's not easy to admit that, but 100 percent belief that God has a great and wonderful plan in my life is something I have to work for, it's not embedded in me as soon as I wake up. Heck, this song would be the near-perfect pick to sing in a bar on Karaoke night.

Musically, I really love the piano throughout the song, especially when it picks up steam in the chorus. It has a jolly sound during the chorus, but a deep, somber tone in other parts of the song. And the acoustic guitar that plays before the final chorus sounds great too.

It's definitely worth picking up if your a Third Day fan who wants to hear more Mac Powell, or your curious to see how so many talents can blend together for a great, soul-searching song.


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