Austin City Unlimited

To be clear, this was still pure Jayhawks: all aching, soaring melodies, carried by Marc Perlman's graceful bass lines and Louris's crackling guitar. The rub, of course, would be the vocals, since the group was always defined by the close, Louvin Brothers-influenced harmony style of Louris and Olson. Louris doesn't have great range, but his voice was always terrifically expressive (for an imprecise but useful analogy, he was Pete Townshend to Olson's Roger Daltry). With both O'Reagan and Grotberg (and occasionally Johnson) singing backup, the effect splits the difference between the Raspberries and the Flying Burrito Brothers: shamelessly simple, heart-grabbing '70s AM harmonies, with just the occasional taste of twang. It was all so deliciously right that, toward the end of the show, someone next to me confessed "I feel sorta guilty saying it, but I think they sound better without [Olson]." It was an optimistic close to a strange and dispiriting week for Minneapolis music, and a reminder that with every end comes a new beginning.

« Previous Page