The earth-shifting significance of last fall's Mockingbird Time (Rounder) was the full-fledged resurrection of Minneapolis's own Jayhawks. Gary Louris and Mark Olson hadn't both appeared on a Jayhawks album since 1995's Tomorrow the Green Grass. But the return of the wayward Olson meant not only the revival of the Louris-Olson songwriting tandem and the duo's critical vocal harmonies. It puts back to full strength one of the definitive bands of its era and genre. Whether they're dubbed country-rock, alt-country, or Americana, the Jayhawks rank—sometimes uncannily—right alongside premier bands of a prior generation, especially Buffalo Springfield and the Flying Burrito Brothers. And it's not just Louris and Olson (see the duo's tentative 2008 disc Ready for the Flood). Without bassist Marc Perlman, keyboardist Karen Grotberg, and drummer Tim O'Reagan, the Jayhawks' dusty, leathery whine would fall a few feathers short. With innovations in songwriting, if not wholesale approach, Mockingbird doesn't merely revive the past but is a nice progression in the Jayhawks' rootsy context.
Sat., Feb. 18, 6:30 p.m., 2012
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