It’s almost that time to be forgotten again.
By Andy Whorehall
There’s a few names in modern pop-rock history that should always be mentioned together based on their exceptional recorded ouput together. Lennon and McCartney, John and Taupin, Costello and Nieve, Reed and Cale, Parsons and Harris, McGuinn & Clark, and a few more. I’d be willing to argue anyone that doesn’t think Gary Louris & Marc Olson, original founding members of Minneapolis’ Jayhawks, belong in the same company based on the few records they’ve released together.
2011 marks the return of the 2 songwriters recording again as ‘The Jayhawks’ with their original, Tomorrow The Green Grass, classic band lineup. A reunion of sorts, though both songwriters released a record together in 2010, Ready for The Flood, and have been touring together on & off for a few years now working out the kinks. Olson shockingly left The Jayhawks in 1995 to go solo. Louris, a capable gifted American songwriter & vocalist in his own right, carried on the ship; but anyone unfamiliar with the ‘Olson/Louris harmony’ would agree that The Jayhawks lost a lung in 1995.
Those who are unfamiliar with The Jayhawks’ late 80s and early 90s output should invest a little time and money discovering what it sounded like to be an outsider when grunge eventually took over the radio & MTV. Completely out of step with the times, it’s easy to hear now what confused the early 90s herd; country rock, folk and classic songwriting mixed with tight harmonies. What set The Jayhawks apart from other modern Americana bands was a ‘grand’ element. Producer, George Drakoulias, seemed to bring out what was already great about Louris & Olson’s compositions by making them sound timeless. Especially Tomorrow The Green Grass, which faces 1 minor complaint keeping it from being a flawless record—–it’s too long. Being that the record was made in the early 90s when the industry tried to capitalize on filling each CD with as many songs as possible- let it slide and enjoy.
If all you’ve ever heard is, Waiting for the Sun or Blue, now’s the perfect time to pick up the recently remastered, Hollywood Town Hall, and the last record recorded by the classic Jayhawks’ lineup, Tomorrow The Green Grass. There’s a treasure chest of modern Americana songs, harmonies, & goosebumps worth every cent and minute.
For those of us already lucky enough to be excited for their classic lineup reunion, the remastered copies of each record are worth it as well; especially the bonus material on Tomorrow The Green Grass. The 2nd disc of the ‘Green Grass’ reissue features 18 of the original 36 Mystery Room demos. Songs that Louris & Olson worked on before Tomorrow The Green Grass reveals what could be a deep well of material Olson left behind with Louris. Rumor has it they’ve returned to some of these unfleshed compositions for their new 2011 release. Here’s hoping they have.
I am envious of those unfamiliar with The Jayhawks. Heard of them, but no, I guess I haven’t heard them. My disbelief is generally loaded with jealousy and excitement. They are one of the great, lost American bands–of course you aren’t familiar. I’ll make ya a tape. Yeah, a tape, I miss those days.
What awaits you is the perfect soundtrack for a beautiful life gone by too quick, and hopefully not forgotten.
AW | andy whorehall