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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Jars of Clay, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10, Musikfest Café, Bethlehem CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Jars of Clay, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10, Musikfest Café, Bethlehem

Jars of Clay in creative breakthrough

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 by AMY HERZOG Special to the Press in Focus

Grammy Award-winning Jars of Clay rolls into Bethlehem at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10, Musikfest Café, ArtsQuest Center, SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, with a fall tour which includes opening acts Sleeping at Last and Mariah McManus.

Jars of Clay is recording a still-to-be-titled album, set for release in 2013.

"This record feels different in many ways to our other records, mostly due to the process of stripping away a lot of the voices that used to influence our songwriting," says Jars of Clay lead singer Dan Haseltine.

"After making music for nearly 20 years, and feeling comfortable in the art of second-guessing our own instincts in order to allow creative breakthroughs, we found a negative effect.

"That negative effect was our lack of trust in our own voices. So, we knew we had to reclaim our creative space and find the environment to seek out what is unique to Jars of Clay," Haseltine says.

Drawing inspiration from groups such as My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists, Nada Surf and Band of Horses for the album, Jars of Club, which is based in Nashville, has reinvented its sound.

"We definitely wanted this record to sound like guys making real music," says Haseltine.

"There are also some amazing string arrangements that are reminiscent of our first and second records. When I listen back to the new songs, I feel a bit of nostalgia from the various string parts," Haseltine says.

"We don't have a huge amount of bells and whistles, but the tour is beautiful and intimate, and feels like the best of what Jars of Clay is when we hit the stage," says Haseltine.