Jayhawks Take Flight Again on Raft of Reissues
After the radical departures of the previous two records, Louris and the Jayhawks, whose lineup continued to shift a bit around the axis of Louris, Perlman, and O'Reagan, had only one place to go. Back.
"People say that it's a return to our original sound, but sometimes I think of it as a retreat," Louris says. "We licked our wounds and said, 'Well, that didn't work.' And, I mean, we weren't going to go in another direction of, like, weird shit and drony music."
Instead, the band's more stripped down, country-tinged sound and songs was a purposeful switch, as Louris was eyeing material that could be performed acoustically or with a reduced band lineup or even solo. Ethan Johns was producer.
"Ethan was really into the idea of me singing and playing guitar live," he says. "And for all its rootsiness, the Jayhawks had never recorded live vocals on any of our records -- even the first one -- until this record."
As a result, Rainy Day Music is a perfect Sunday-morning kind of record.
What happened next...
The Jayhawks went on hiatus in 2004 as the members pursued solo projects, though Louris and Olson did later reunite for a duo record and tour. Interest in the band continued to boil up again with the release of the 2009 anthology Music from the North Country and then remastered reissues of albums Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass.
"I felt burned out after that last time, and I did not like that record at all," he says. "It takes away from our catalogue."
As for the band's future after the tour to support the reissues, he's not sure.
"I love that we are now playing some songs we haven't done in ten or 15 years, or at all," he says. "But I don't know how I'm going to feel in six months. I don't want to make [new] Jayhawks music or keep the band going out of desperation."
"And I'm working on all kinds of crazy stuff," Louris adds. "Solo music. Side bands. Producing. Teaching. Like Marconi on acid! The Jayhawks may never be my No. 1 focus. But what a gift it is to have it."
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