Word of Jayhawks getting together again music to my ears

Whenever I hear of a band breaking up, I take it with a grain of salt. It’s kind of like the retirement of certain professional athletes.

I just read somewhere that the former members of Fleetwood Mac are thinking about recording again. Ho hum, it sounds just like a former professional quarterback who used to play for the Packers and can’t seem to stay retired.

There are always exceptions to every rule, so when I heard that the Jayhawks, one of my favorite alternative/country bands from the late 1980s, were going to reunite the original lineup and release a new CD, I was excited to say the least.

“Blue Earth” was the first recording by the Jayhawks that I listened to and that was in 1989, about a year after we opened Triple Play. I have been following the band since that time.

The original lineup for the Jayhawks was Marc Olson and Gary Louris on guitar, Marc Perlman on bass and Norm Rogers on drums with Olson and Louris as the main songwriters.

The Jayhawks’ eponymous first album was released in very limited numbers in 1988. Shortly after that, Louris was involved in a near fatal auto accident and the band took some time off, releasing the material they had recorded before Louris’ accident as “Blue Earth.”

In 1992, the band released “Hollywood Town Hall” and that album was a landmark recording for the Jayhawks, establishing the band as one of the leaders of the alternative/country, dare I say, Americana movement of the past 20 years.

“Hollywood Town Hall” also was a best-seller at Triple Play at that time.

“Tomorrow the Green Grass” was released in 1995 and was the last recording Olson played on, until now. He left the band prior to the release of “Tomorrow the Green Grass” to live in California with his then new wife Victoria Williams and to help her cope with multiple sclerosis. The two are now divorced.

The Jayhawks took a different direction after Olson left, changing band members and their sound along the way. The next two releases, “Sound of Lies” in 1997 and “Smile” in 2000, were much different sounding than preceding recordings, taking a more decidedly rock ‘n’ roll sound with a much tighter production.

I had the pleasure of seeing the Jayhawks put on a great show at Mesa Theater and Club after the release of “Smile.” I remember being very impressed as to how the band was able to bring the sonic sound of “Smile” to a live stage.

“Rainy Day Music” was released in 2005, and it saw the Jayhawks return to its alternative/country roots with very sparse production.

The band broke up shortly thereafter with no plans to reunite, but Olson and Louris started playing together and on each other’s solo projects, which brings us to the present.

“Mockingbird Time” is the name of the new CD, and I have only listened to it four times. It is starting to grow on me, and it has all the elements of the Jayhawks’ sound since 1989 and has the potential to be one of the band’s best recordings.

I will report further on “Mockingbird Time” after I have had the time to really listen to it.

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. Email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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