Christmas Songs (Jars of Clay album)

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Christmas Songs
Studio album by Jars of Clay
Released October 16, 2007 (2007-10-16)
Recorded 2007
Genre Christmas music
Length 49:52
Label Gray Matters/Nettwerk
Producer Jars of Clay
Jars of Clay chronology
The Essential Jars of Clay
(2007)
Christmas Songs
(2007)
Greatest Hits
(2008)
Singles from Christmas Songs
  1. "Love Came Down At Christmas"
    Released: November 2007 (AC Single)
  2. "Wonderful Christmastime"
    Released: November 2007 (CHR/Pop Single)
  3. "Peace Is Here"
    Released: December 2007 (AC Single)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Christianity Today 3.5/5 stars[2]
Cross Rhythms 8/10 stars[3]
Jesus Freak Hideout 5/5 stars[4]
Paste Magazine 3.5/5 stars[5]

Christmas Songs is the first full-length Christmas album from Jars of Clay, that was released on October 16, 2007 through Gray Matters/Nettwerk. This is the first ever release from the band through their newly created Gray Matters imprint via Nettwerk Music Group.[4]

Background[edit]

In 2006, Jars of Clay began to seek a new recording contract as their then-current contract with Sony BMG's Christian sub-label Essential Records was due to end a few releases later. The group then decided to create their own label named Gray Matters and formed a partnership with the label and imprint label Nettwerk. The group decided to record their first full length Christmas album to debut on this label. The group previously has released one Christmas EP named Drummer Boy, which contained the classic Christmas carol "The Little Drummer Boy". The group also contributed their original Christmas song "Bethlehem Town" to the Christmas edition of the City on a Hill series. In 2004, Jars appeared on the collection entitled Maybe This Christmas Tree with their lighter "Christmas for Cowboys" alongside artists such as Lisa Loeb, Ivy and Copeland. More recently, in 2005, Jars returned to the Christmas classics to cover "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" on the collection Come Let Us Adore Him: A Christmas Worship Experience.

In 2007 as the contract with Sony BMG ended, the group began recording Christmas Songs, selecting a range of established and well known Christmas Carols, some lesser known songs and some original songs[6] to present for this project. The album was recorded in one-take recording sessions, a recording method only used once before by the band, in their prior studio album Good Monsters. This recording method meant that the majority of the time spent on the album was spent in pre-production, arranging the songs, practicing the songs before entering the studio to record them.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Songwriting Credits Length
1. "The Gift of St. Cecilia"   Jars of Clay 1:23
2. "Wonderful Christmastime"   Paul McCartney 3:37
3. "Love Came Down at Christmas"   Words by Christina Rossetti
Music by Garton, traditional Irish Melody
Arrangement by Jars of Clay
3:02
4. "O Little Town of Bethlehem"   Words by Phillips Brooks
Music arrangement by Byron Keith and Jars of Clay
4:38
5. "Hibernation Day"   Jars of Clay, Jeremy Lutito, Gabe Ruschival 2:59
6. "Winter Skin"   Jars of Clay 2:59
7. "Peace Is Here"   Jars of Clay 4:08
8. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"   Traditional
Arrangement by Jars of Clay
3:44
9. "Evergreen"   Jars of Clay 2:45
10. "Christmastime Is Here"   Words by Lee Mendelson
Music by Vince Guaraldi
3:20
11. "Drummer Boy"   Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati, Harry Simeone 4:34
12. "Gabriel's Message"   Words paraphrased by Sabine Baring-Gould
Music traditional Basque Carol
Arrangement by Edgar Pettman
2:06
13. "In the Bleak Midwinter"   Words by Christina Rosetti and Jars of Clay
Music by Cranham, Gustav Holst
Arrangement by Jars of Clay
4:36
14. "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"   Words by Henry Longfellow
Music by John B. Calkin
5:31
iTunes bonus track
No. Title Songwriting Credits Length
15. "Peace Is Here" (Acoustic Version) Jars of Clay 2:58
eMusic bonus track
No. Title Songwriting Credits Length
15. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (Acoustic Version) Traditional
Arrangement by Jars of Clay
3:47

USB Stick Version[edit]

Christmas Songs was also released via USB stick format. The flash drive is reusable and has a capacity of 512 MB. The USB sticks were initially only available for purchase at concerts, but has since been added to the band's official online store. Each USB stick contains the following:

  • Christmas Songs album in its entirety (MP3 files at 192 kbit/s bitrate)
  • Acoustic version of "O Little Town of Bethlehem"
  • Full-length music video for "Love Came Down at Christmas" (M4V video format)
  • Readings of "First Breath", "Life As Advent", "The Burden of Hope" and "Who Gets to be Santa" from the book Peace Is Here, written by members of Jars of Clay
  • Live video performances of "Hibernation Day" and "Drummer Boy" from the Gospel Music Channel's Christmas at Union Station special

Awards[edit]

In 2008, the album was nominated for a Dove Award for Christmas Album of the Year at the 39th GMA Dove Awards.[7]

Credits[edit]

Music[edit]

  • Dan Haseltine - vocals
  • Stephen Mason - guitars, background vocals
  • Matt Odmark - guitars, background vocals
  • Charlie Lowell - keyboards, piano, background vocals
  • Jeremy Lutito - drums, percussion, bells, background vocals, vibes
  • Gabe Ruschival - bass, keyboards, percussion, bells, background vocals, vibes
  • John Catchings - cello
  • Christine Dente - vocals
  • Tom Howard - horn and string arrangements
  • Mitch Dane - tambourine
  • Pam Sisfin - violin
  • Alan Umstead - violin
  • Conni Ellisor - violin
  • Kris Wilkinson - viola
  • Jim Grosjean - viola
  • Carole Rabinowitz - cello
  • Jeff Bailey - trumpet
  • Jennifer Kummer - French horn
  • Sam Levine - flute, winds
  • Gil Long - tuba
  • Carl Gorodetzky - orchestra contractor

Production[edit]

  • Jars of Clay - producer
  • Mitch Dane - recording, engineering, mixing
  • Vance Powell - recording, engineering
  • Mike Odmark - assisting to recording and engineering
  • Joshua Vance Smith - assisting to recording, engineering, and mixing
  • Mike Paragone - recording assistant
  • Richard Dodd - mastering
  • Christie Little - package illustrations and design

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Christmas SongsReview". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "Christmas Songs Review". Christianity Today. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Christmas Songs Review". Cross Rhythms. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  4. ^ a b DiBiase, John. "Christmas Songs Review". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Christmas Songs Review". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "Jars of Clay's Bio". Retrieved September 3, 2007. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Nominations Announced for 39th GMA Dove Awards". CBN.com. Retrieved 26 April 2011.