I don’t even want to do a google search for “Songs:Illinois” and “Jayhawks”. I think it would be a depressing look at the cop-out that is comparing one band to another. If I’m ever at a loss for words describing a band that even remotely shares the sound of Gram Parsons, The Eagles or Wilco then I usually resort to comparing them to The Jayhawks. Ironically I discovered the band in 1992 in a crappy Scotti’s Record store in the small New Jersey town of Madison (in the cut out section no less!). At the time I’d never heard of them, but was drawn to the cover art, the title of the record (Hollywood Town Hall), the “look of the band” and the producer – George Drakoulias.
I was suitably blown away by the sound and the songs inside. No record by The Jayhawks (or for that matter anyone else since) has held up over time like Hollywood Town Hall has for me. When the band broke up I was already starting to lose interest; a sameness had crept over the sound and the need to produce a hit had affected the band’s trademark sound. So the band split in two, with Mark Olson going his seperate way to form Creekdippers with Victoria Williams. Years later it is pretty clear from the direction the band went in under Gary Louris (Golden Smog) that the split was at least partially over the demands to write poopy stuff vs. the emotio-laden-tearjerker-soul-ballads favored by Olson. Meanwhile I think some of the latter day Jayhawks material is some of the best pop you’ll hear on the radio and conversely some of the Creekdrippers material is loose to the point of being dishevelled.
So the good news is that Garly Louris joins Mark Olson on three songs on his upcoming solo debut – The Salvation Blues (Hacktone Records). The record has been produced by former cult favorite and now Hollywood soundtrack big shot Ben Vaughn. The three songs streaming on MySpace show that both Mark and Gary have returned to form. This sounds like a record that will appeal to all those who loved The Jayhawks early records. You can pre-order this June release now through amazon here. I’ll have more from this record as we get closer to release date for now here’s “Poor Michael’s Boat”:
Thank God or Google (didn’t Google just buy God?) for YouTube. Here’s the original video for “Waiting For The Sun”: