The Jayhawks: 2018
The Jayhawks at WFUV (photo by Brian Gallagher)
Ever since the Jayhawks' third album and breakthrough record, 1992's Hollywood Town Hall, the band has been a favorite of mine. Over the years, the Minneapolis-bred group has become one of the greatest roots-rock bands this country has ever produced.
Fronted by principle songwriter, lead singer and guitarist Gary Louris and founding member and bassist Marc Perlman, the Jayhawks combine American alternative country and folk influences with Beatles-inflected power pop and garage rock. Their tenth album, Back Roads And Abandoned Motels, is FUV's New Dig this week.
Nine out of the new album’s eleven tracks are the Jayhawks’ interpretations of songs co-written by Louris in collaboration with other songwriting partners. These were songs initially intended for these other writers to record. Now, the Jayhawks have tackled these tunes. These include a couple of Dixie Chicks songs written with the trio, plus a song for Natalie Maines's 2013 solo album, Mother.
Back Roads And Abandoned Motels also features a tune written by Louris and Jakob Dylan for the HBO television series “True Blood,” as well as songs originally recorded by Carrie Rodriguez and Ari Hest. There are also never-recorded tracks too, co-written with Emerson Hart (of Tonic) and the Wild Feathers. Louris also wrote two new songs for Back Roads And Abandoned Motels.
In addition to their own album, the Jayhawks again back Ray Davies for his latest release, Our Country: Americana Act II (they were also on board 2017's Americana).
I was thrilled to welcome the Jayhawks – Louris, Perlman, drummer and vocalist Tim O’Reagan, keyboardist and vocalist Karen Grotberg, and multi-instrumentalist John Jackson (the band’s newest member) – to FUV's Studio A.