He helped birth alt-country, that increasingly hard to define sound, albeit one that was represented perfectly on the Jayhawks' 1995 album, Tomorrow The Green Grass. Louris and the rest of the 'Hawks went on indefinite hiatus in 2005, disappointing many, but it reminds me of a statement Sting made circa 1985 that a band is like a gang—eventually you get too old to be in a gang. Finding your own path is much easier without people in tow and questions to answer from a committee regarding the group's chosen direction. Louris officially struck out on his own this year with Vagabonds, and while its alt-country influence is evident, it is not a throwback or a desperate reach for the glory days. Nor does it sound like one-fourth of a great band trying to establish himself as a legit artist. Certainly that's what Louris is trying to do, and with Vagabonds, it seems he has effortlessly succeeded, walking a similar but less traveled path than he did with his former bandmates, a path that seems fairly safe for now but could get much thornier should Louris choose to make it so. All Ages.
Mon., Aug. 25, 7:30 p.m., 2008