Gray Matters, under the Nettwerk Music Group umbrella

After 12 years on Essential Records, Jars of Clay is exiting to launch a new imprint, Gray Matters, under the Nettwerk Music Group umbrella.

"Having our own imprint will give us the opportunity to be more spontaneous and more prolific in how much music we kick out," Jars of Clay's Stephen Mason said.

The first Gray Matters release will be a Christmas collection, due October 17, which Jars will support via a Christmas tour with Third Day. Mason said the band also plans to record a soundtrack for a documentary a friend is making about the African village of Lwala.

Mason and bandmates Dan Haseltine, Matt Odmark and Charlie Lowell rose to prominence in the mid-'90s in the Christian market and gained mainstream success with the multiformat hit "Flood." They have continued to appeal to both markets. Last fall, they released "Good Monsters," which has scanned 134,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Jars' former label, Essential, is part of Provident Music Group, Sony BMG's Christian music arm. Provident will distribute Gray Matters product to Christian retailers, and Sony BMG will take releases to the mainstream market.
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