The members of Jars of Clay have left their artistic fingerprints all over each aspect of their new Essential Records release, "The Eleventh Hour" (released March 5). The set marks a return to the cre

The members of Jars of Clay have left their artistic fingerprints all over each aspect of their new Essential Records release, "The Eleventh Hour" (released March 5). The set marks a return to the creative well that fueled the band's successful 1995 eponymous debut.

That album spawned the group's signature hit, "Flood," and propelled it to critical and commercial success in both the Christian and mainstream music fields. The two following albums -- 1997's "Much Afraid" and 1999's "If I Left the Zoo" -- were critically praised but not as commercially successful.

Vocalist Dan Haseltine says the band is back on track with "The Eleventh Hour": "There's more clarity of thought. There's a passion and honesty that hasn't been heard since the first record."

Jars of Clay hits the mark with a thoughtful collection of songs that cover a broad range of topics from co-dependency to the brevity of life. "Fly" will be the first cut released to U.S. mainstream modern rock and hot-AC radio stations through Essential's sister label Jive.

"It's a true story," Haseltine says of "Fly." "A friend of ours was good friends with a couple, and the wife had cancer. They spent the entire six months of their marriage in the hospital. He stayed by her bedside constantly, and then she died. This song deals with the questions she was asking before she died."

In addition to the new tunes fans will hear on "The Eleventh Hour," Jars of Clay have contributed the song "The Widowing Field" to the new Mel Gibson film "We Were Soldiers." Haseltine also wrote the score for the film "Hometown Legend," directed by James Anderson. The band's music has steadily received prime exposure from the film community. Its songs have been featured in several films including "Hard Rain," "Jack Frost," "The Long Kiss Goodnight," "The Chamber," and "The Prince of Egypt."





Excerpted from the March 9, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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