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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Jars of Clay to perform Sunday night

Ten years ago, four boys who lived in the same dorm at Greenville College came together to share their appreciation for music by writing songs “for the fun of it.” Within the span of these 10 years, they have moved from their dorm rooms at the Illinois college to the center stage as the multi-platinum, three-time Grammy Award winners Jars of Clay.
“Literally, a lot of our friendship was born out of our appreciation for the same kind of music,” said Steve Mason, guitarist for the band.
The band is also composed of Dan Haseltine, singing vocals, Matt Odmark on guitar and Charlie Lowell on the keyboard. Not only do they share similar musical inspirations, they are also united by the faith in which their music is based.
“We see our faith as an integral part of what we do, being followers of Christ and songwriters,” Mason said. “First, it shows the gospel has application and relevance to everything in life. Second, it shows that anything is within the realm of writing.”
Mason said Jars of Clay writes its own songs, which are usually developed from lyrical ideas or a musical phrase. Describing the band’s style as “acoustically-driven alternative pop,” Mason said the music takes a different angle through the way they try to make it appear.
“This show is a reflection from our most recent release, furthermore, in that it is intimate,” he said. “It draws on the acoustic sound and relies heavily on the audience to accept the invitation to join in.”
For the band, music is a means of expression, and even though they did not envision reaching the degree of success it has accomplished, music is something each of the members planned to continue on some level had they not pursued it as a career.
Recording its first song, “Fade to Gray,” for credit in a recording class, the band performed a limited number of shows around its college campus and community. Mason said the turning point for the band came at a contest it entered in Nashville. Jars of Clay sent in a demo of three songs with no expectation of being selected to play live for record companies in Nashville.
“We really wanted input from someone to see if we were onto something,” he said. “It turned out we were accepted to play in the contest, and we ended up winning.”
Although Jars of Clay did not perform many live shows before it was signed as an act, touring now consumes most of its time. Mason said the band is on tour for about a year, and then they it is off for a half of a year six months.
“Once you start (touring), it becomes part of what you enjoy,” he said. “You see a lot of great places and meet a lot of different people.”
In addition to traveling to places such as Singapore, Australia, Europe,and Alaska, Jars of Clay has toured with names such as Michael W. Smith and Matchbox 20.
Now promoting its fifth album, “Furthermore”, Jars of Clay is on tour with Caedmon’s Call, which also recently released an album in February, “Back Home”.
Todd Bragg, drummer for Caedmon’s Call, said the band has had a lot of fun traveling with Jars of Clay.
“We’ve known each other for awhile,” he said. “So it’s been good to hang out.”
Caedmon’s Call includes Josh Moore on the piano, Garett Buell on percussion, Cliff Young on guitar and vocals, Danielle Young on vocals and Jeff Miller on bass.
The band, though undergoing a few changes in its membership, met at a church in Houston 10 years ago.
“We didn’t know what to expect. We never envisioned it would become what it has,” Bragg said. “We just wanted to be honest and genuine. We didn’t want to put on an act.”
The band members combined their different musical backgrounds to compose a style that Braggs described as rooted in folk.
“Because everyone has a different perspective in their approach, we have a big spectrum of styles,” he said. “Some songs are heavier, others are more mellow.”
Basing its name on the seventh Century monk named Caedmon who was one of the first to translate Christian scriptures into English through hymns, Caedmon’s Call also draws from scripture for its music.
According to Bragg, the band has several writers for its songs. Their jobs include selecting a song for its spiritual meaning, ensuring that it is theological sound and making sure that it makes sense artistically. Bragg said that Caedmon’s Call then “caedmonizes” each song it performs.
Lindsey Norton, a sophomore education major, looks forward to attending the concert with a group of friends.
“I love Caedmon’s Call,” she said. “It is upbeat Christian music. They have incredible voices, and their songs are all about praising God. (The songs) really strike a chord.”

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