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The Jayhawks

Led by the gifted songwriting, impeccable playing, and honeyed harmonies of vocalists/guitarists Mark Olson and Gary Louris, the Jayhawks' shimmering blend of country, folk, and bar band rock made them one of the most widely acclaimed artists to emerge from the alternative country scene. The group sprang up in 1985 out of the fertile musical community of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Olson had been playing standup bass in a rockabilly band called Stagger Lee. His desire to write and perform his own country-folk material soon prompted him to begin a solo career, which he launched after enlisting Marc Perlman, the guitarist for a local band called the Neglecters, to become Olson's bassist. After the addition of drummer Norm Rogers, the group began booking shows, playing its first gig in front of a small crowd of less than a dozen people. One of those patrons, however, was Gary Louris, a veteran of the local bands Safety Last and Schnauzer. He and Olson began talking after the show; by the end of the evening, Louris -- who was famed locally for his innovative, pedal steel-like guitar sound -- had become a member of the group, which eventually adopted the name the Jayhawks.

Drawing on influences like Gram Parsons, the Louvin Brothers, Tim Hardin, and Nashville Skyline-era Bob Dylan, the Jayhawks quickly became a local favorite, honing their sound in Twin Cities clubs before releasing their eponymous debut in 1986. Issued in a pressing of just a few thousand copies, the album was well received by those who heard it; a major recording deal did not follow, however, so the bandmembers continued to polish their craft live, with more and more of their songs bearing writing credits belonging to both Olson and Louris. In October 1988, after a lineup change that saw the departure of Rogers (who joined the Cows) followed by the addition of drummer Thad Spencer, Louris was nearly killed in an auto accident, and the Jayhawks went on hiatus. At much the same time, however, executives at the Minneapolis independent label Twin/Tone decided to issue the demos the group had been stockpiling over the past few years, and after some overdubbing and remixing, Blue Earth appeared in 1989. Richer in sound and more complex in its themes and concerns, the record's release brought the group considerable attention, and also brought Louris back into the fold. After another drummer switch (Spencer for Ken Callahan), the band hit the road for a national tour.

The Jayhawks were signed to major-label American Records after producer George Drakoulias heard Blue Earth playing in the background during a phone call to Twin/Tone's offices. With Drakoulias in the producer's seat, the band recorded its breakthrough album, Hollywood Town Hall, in 1991; a mainstay of critics' annual "best-of" lists, the album generated the alternative radio hits "Waiting for the Sun," "Take Me with You (When You Go)," and "Settled Down Like Rain." After a tour that saw the permanent addition of Minneapolis pianist Karen Grotberg, the individual bandmembers guested on albums from Counting Crows, Soul Asylum, Maria McKee, Joe Henry, and others. Before recording the fourth Jayhawks album, Callahan departed, and was replaced by session drummer Don Heffington. The resulting record, 1995's Tomorrow the Green Grass, is a beautiful collection of songs led off by the elegiac single "Blue," the recipient of significant airplay. A tour followed, but after some months on the road, Olson announced he was quitting the band.

In 1997, the Jayhawks -- now consisting of Louris, Perlman, Grotberg, and drummer Tim O'Reagan -- released the album Sound of Lies. Grotberg left the band in early 2000, and was replaced by ex-DAG keyboardist Jen Gunderman for the band's sixth album, Smile. A move to a new label (Lost Highway) in 2002 brought about more changes in the band's ever evolving lineup, leaving Louris, Perlman, and O'Reagan (assisted by newcomer Stephen McCarthy on guitar) to craft 2003's rootsier Rainy Day Music. After that, the band ceased operating under the moniker, though Olson and Louris toured together in 2005 and 2006 billed as "From the Jayhawks: An Evening with Mark Olson and Gary Louris, Together Again," eventually releasing an album together in 2009 called Ready for the Flood. That same year, the band released Music from the North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology, and a reissue of 1986's Bunkhouse Album appeared soon after.

During the summer of 2009, the Jayhawks reunited for two festival dates in Spain. The success of both shows encouraged the bandmates to bring the reunion back to America, where they holed themselves up in several locations (Louris' apartment in Minneapolis, Olson's home in Joshua Tree, a cabin in northern Minnesota) to write new material. Most of those new songs made their way onto 2011's Mockingbird Time, the band's first release in nearly ten years. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: She Walks In So Many Ways (Single)

Comments

Who are you talking about Jeff Tweedy from Wilco.
Who are you talking about Jeff Tweedy?
Great band. Smooth sound always. Homey
bizzybodies2 8
Gary is really talented. I really wish he and Jeff could have made it work. Love them both.
How did I not know about this group for so long? I only discovered them on here 2 or 3 years ago. I love Madman!
Best alternative country / folk / Americana / roots rock band in the USA in the last 25 years. I've met and spoken with Gary Louris and Mark Olson many times. Great guys, especially Gary. Great band. Discovered them opening for the Black Crowes at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountainview , California the summer of 1992. Life changing. Even better than the main act. So many great albums over the years, such evolution of sound and songwriting, Golden Smog supergroup, solo projects by many bandmembers
Why no Sound Of Lies on Pandora? Trouble is one of Louris's best tunes and his guitar solo is to die for.
.
So good !!
I have followed this band, it's members and friends and all of the incarnation n s thereof since their inception and have been blessed with never-ending musical enjoyment as well as a love for the y'all-ternat i v e style. From my first solo performance through my first dance at my wedding, up till today I listen to the Jayhawks/Gol d e n Smog/Uncle Tupelo family music. I have also written, recorded, and released 3+ albums bearing the influences of these guys and gals. THANK YOU ALL!
Why can I not find "caught with a smile"
On I tunes
Those vocals-The meld factor at work.
Fell in love with they Jayhawks in 1992!!! Had the opportunity to see Louris and olsen in 2009...... 17 years after the fact and still had tears at moments!!!! No better harmonies EVER!!!!!
Ok I have worshipped the Hawks since the beginning and I am not feelin this album....
joeharry21
Nice mix, but a total Major Tom rip off (to me, anyway..)
dsa77s
Another great band from MPLS! Just further proof what a cool town it is, I missed out when I lived there cause I thought Americana was lame, andf they seemed like just another Cabooze Bar band. I had jto move to CA to appreciate them.
wenberep
reminds me of the gear daddies
chellealmone y
Bob, the band is back together in case you haven't heard. I just saw them last Saturday for the first time. They were great. Putting a yet to be titled new album out this summer with the old lineup.
Occasional reunions do occur. In-store @ Electric Fetus (a fine independent record store) this past year was supreme! Sweet music!
Great Band... never realized the similiar vocal style to Marc Mulcahey and Miracle Legion
Not sure when it was fixed but the bio was finally corrected. Now if we could only get the band back together.
dsieg1
Wrong bio dopes.
jonswan2001
FFS proofreading and fact checking is an obligation. Please update the biography for the correct band.
My favorite member is Carl Fisher (second tenor)
wtf.... change the bio...
tomwald
"...everyone was expendable and no one person's identity created the group itself"

Wow. I had never realized that The Jayhawks had their origins so long ago. I guess that I only knew the Minnesota incarnation of the 1990's and 2000's.

Okay, yeah, I'm joking.
Try putting the correct bio in for the Jayhawks.
tdills101
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tdills101
d
tdills101
c
tdills101
b
tdills101
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tdills101
This bio couldn't be more wrong. Catch up.
jenlopez
you folks have been hearing that this is the wrong bio for five months! change it!
this is insane! please change the bio!!
Clearly the wrong bio, and clearly reported by others.....I really like the song I just heard and would appreciate the correct bio so I can find out about THIS band, not the 50's band by the same name.
snackeru
Wrong bio! Get it right! The Jayhawks are being seriously disrespected here!
One more time, incorrect bio....
the bio here is wrong.
I agree. This bio is for the wrong Jayhawks. Please update it with the actual bio of the minneapolis based Jayhawks. Here's a good start (copied right from Wikipedia) for you to use/modify "The Jayhawks are an American alternative country and rock band that emerged from the Twin Cities music scene during the mid 1980s. Their country rock sound was influential on many bands who played the Twin Cities circuit during the 80s and 90s like Uncle Tupelo, The Gear Daddies and The Honeydogs. They rele
I'm reporting abuse. abuse of this bio! what a douche.
Absolute jewel of a band. Excellent "Americana" music. These guys had a great run; very strong song writing chops, catchy as hell. Great live show too. Highly - highly recommended - God bless the Jayhawks!
janderson911
wrong Jayhawks
imperialpdx
You have posted the bio for the wrong Jayhawks!
lisa.rivers
ok, I thought I had lost my mind reading this! Glad to know I'm not the one who's wrong.
rockandrollf a r m e r
Uh, do some further research dudes! The MPLS. Jayhawks!
daymitc
Uhh, yeah. This one's pretty off-base. I had no idea the Jayhawks were the original Menudo.
hahahhaha
Have to agree, somethin' ain't right
mandalacasca d e
totally wrong bio. couldn't be farther from the real jayhawks...
lntrsk973
Whhaaaa?
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