Who We Are Instead

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lisa Zhito
Not too long ago Jars of Clay were known for lush production, enigmatic lyrics, and some sonic quirks à la 1999's landmark If I Left the Zoo thrown in for good measure. But that's all so last century. With the acoustic Who We Are Instead, Jars of Clay turn to the sounds of their Nashville hometown, and make a bold statement about human nature in the process. Stripped of all pop sentiment, this album borrows heavily from folk, country, blues, and Americana rock influences. And yet, unlike most of what Nashville churns out, this music is also more emotionally honest. The dark edges of the human spirit weave through each of these 13 tracks; even the jovial opener, "Sunny ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lisa Zhito
Not too long ago Jars of Clay were known for lush production, enigmatic lyrics, and some sonic quirks à la 1999's landmark If I Left the Zoo thrown in for good measure. But that's all so last century. With the acoustic Who We Are Instead, Jars of Clay turn to the sounds of their Nashville hometown, and make a bold statement about human nature in the process. Stripped of all pop sentiment, this album borrows heavily from folk, country, blues, and Americana rock influences. And yet, unlike most of what Nashville churns out, this music is also more emotionally honest. The dark edges of the human spirit weave through each of these 13 tracks; even the jovial opener, "Sunny Days," has its dark clouds. Thankfully, there's also grace and redemption -- Who We Are Instead shows both sides of the coin, both who we are and, well, you get the picture. The album's title comes from a line in the haunting "Trouble Is," a song that hovers somewhere between bluegrass and blues; here lead singer Dan Haseltine sings that human suffering comes because "we forget who we are instead," meaning Divine creations. Balancing that heavy notion are more positive acoustic compositions such as the single "Show You Love," which, with its repetitive chorus and layered vocals, neatly makes the point that God's love for us is relentless. One thing fans love about Jars is that they never repeat themselves, and Who We Are Instead is as fine an album as the group has ever released.
All Music Guide - Johnny Loftus
For 2002's Eleventh Hour, Jars of Clay seemed to transfer the inherent power of their music from soulful vocals and grassroots gospel to the din of ragged electric guitars and anxious drum machines. That wasn't a bad decision, necessarily, but the album did seem to be more of a mood piece than anything. For Who We Are Instead, the band settled into the comfortable Tennessee environs of its own Sputnik studio and set about tuning up those old acoustic guitars. The resulting 13 songs still nod to modernism with slick production and the occasional twinge of programming. But where the electronics of Eleventh tracks like "Disappear" or "Revolution" seemed to cast a shadow, the gritty, percolating bottom end of Who We Are Instead's "Trouble Is" adds resolve to the song's slide-guitar tale of darkness and light. "My heart ain't built to stay," vocalist Dan Haseltine sings in an appropriately world weary tone. "Jesus told me so." It's in this way that Jars of Clay unites their own beliefs with the larger church of American roots music. "Amazing Grace" with its fabulous guest shot from vocalist Ashley Cleveland is another signpost on that long U.S. route to redemption; it finds its spiritual brethren in Live's "Lightning Crashes" and U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." The band even reveals the reverent heart of America's "Lonely People," transforming the song's "Don't give up!" message into a pep talk supported by mandolin and impressive '70s vocal harmonies. While the CCM-pop of single "Show Me Love" and lively "I'm in the Way" is pleasant enough, it doesn't resonate as effectively in the midst of Who We Are's more honest moments. These arrive again with "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet" -- influenced by the grace of the homeless, nameless street singer at the center of Gavin Bryars' epic piece -- which expertly mixes naked, almost whispered vocals with slowly surging instrumentation, and closer "My Heavenly," where a simple, yet determinedly effective, paean to God weaves quietly through the strains of a chamber pop piano. Jars of Clay's devotion will ensure the embrace of Who We Are Instead by alternative CCM fans. But the band's reverence for the Americana canon aligns them with a stable of secular artists -- Counting Crows, Train, and Ryan Adams, to name only a few -- who till the same fertile soil.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/4/2003
  • Label: Essential
  • UPC: 083061070922
  • Catalog Number: 10709

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Sunny Days (3:30)
  2. 2 Amazing Grace (5:18)
  3. 3 Lonely People (2:45)
  4. 4 Only Alive (4:04)
  5. 5 Trouble Is (3:50)
  6. 6 Faith Enough (5:24)
  7. 7 Show You Love (3:33)
  8. 8 Lesser Things (4:36)
  9. 9 I'm in the Way (2:33)
  10. 10 Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (3:39)
  11. 11 Jealous Kind (4:10)
  12. 12 Sing (4:11)
  13. 13 My Heavenly (3:29)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Jars of Clay Primary Artist
Ashley Cleveland Vocals
John Catchings Cello
Ken Coomer Drums
Chris McHugh Drums
Ben Mize Drums
Dan Haseltine Percussion, Vocals, Group Member
Charlie Lowell Organ, Piano, Accordion, Keyboards, Background Vocals, Group Member
Stephen Mason Guitar, Mandolin, Pedal Steel Guitar, national steel guitar, Lap Steel Guitar, Group Member
Kenny Meeks Mandolin, Vocals
Aaron Sands Bass
Matthew Odmark Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Background Vocals, Group Member
Technical Credits
Dan Peek Composer
Ernest Hemingway Quotes Researched & Compiled
Ron Aniello Producer, Engineer
Richard Dodd Mastering
David Thoener Engineer
Jars of Clay Arranger, Producer
Dan Haseltine Composer, Art Direction
Charlie Lowell Composer
Stephen Mason Composer
John Rummen Cover Design
Robert Beeson Executive Producer
Matt Odmark Composer
Jacquire King Engineer
Aaron Sands Composer
Clint Roth Engineer
Public Domain Composer
Alissa Razansky Representation
Mitch Dane Producer
Lisa Marie Representation
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Excellent!!

    i saw jars of clay in concert last year and they sang some of the new songs off of their CD- i love their new sound-- it's a really great vibe, and i'd recommend it to ANYONE who is thinking about buying it!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Who We Are Instead

    this CD totaly rocks!! recomended 6*s

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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