This spring's Paging Mr. Proust
is the first Jayhawks album since prodigal co-founder Mark Olson's return for 2011's Mockingbird Time
and subsequent re-departure. Proust
features wistful lyrics juggling loss ("the floor is streaked with dreams and beer") and renewed hope ("Comeback Kids"). The sound drifts away from country-rock, but retains references to vintage rock and pop while flirting with fresh vistas. Three decades after originating in Minneapolis, the Jayhawks are both comfortable in their legacy and pushing forward. That melancholy prairie echo still haunts frontman Gary Louris' glowingly melodic tunes, especially on opener "Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces." "Ace," meanwhile, is a funky, experimental mashup of noisy industrial crunch, psychedelic guitars, and beeping electronica. Things then morph into the album's finest Crazy Horse tribute, "The Devil Is in Her Eyes." Opening is Folk Uke, the duo of Cathy Guthrie and Amy Nelson, whose dads happen to be Arlo and Willie. All ages.