The Sunday Dozen: The Jayhawks

The Jayhawks circa 2011.

The peer band parade continues. Just don’t ask me for throws. I’ve got nothing for you.

I came late to my Jayhawks fandom. I didn’t follow them from their first album on as I had with Crowded House, Squeeze, and The Smithereens. I discovered them early in the 21st Century. Better late than never.

The Jayhawks career has had a series of false starts, mishaps, and breakups. They’ve never been as popular as they deserve to have been given the quality of their music. What’s not to love about tight harmonies and well-crafted songs?  Oh well, what the hell.

There have been four phases to the band’s career. The Louris-Olson years from 1984-1995. Then the Louris years 1995-2004. A brief return to the Louris-Olson era 2011-12. Finally, a 2015 comeback that has endured.

A reminder that the songs are arranged in chronological order and reflect my personal preferences. On with the show this is it.

Two Angels debuted on the Blue Earth album but was resurrected for the band’s major label debut.

If you dig the keyboards on Sister Cry, here’s why: Heartbreaker Benmont Tench is all over Hollywood Town Hall.

Tomorrow The Green Grass was my first Jayhawks album. It still holds a special place in my heart. I’d Run Away is one of two radio hits on the album. I skipped the other, Blue, because space. It’s a good song but the dozens are hard, y’all.

Miss Williams’ Guitar is a song Mark Olson wrote about meeting his future ex-wife, Victoria Williams. The songwriting credit is Louris-Olson but this one’s mostly Mark except for some great guitar work by Gary.

Olson left the band after Tomorrow The Green Grass. There were some hard feelings, which inspired the Sound of Lies album.

It’s Up To You is the sleeper on the list. Karen Grotberg’s piano is to die for.

Trouble was the late great Della Street’s theme song. She was always in it.

Smile is a song that evokes the Beach Boys during the Pet Sounds/Smiley Smile era.

I’m Gonna Make You Love Me is an insanely catchy song that’s been a frequent set opener or closer over the years. The combination of mandolin and Townshend-like guitar gives it a unique sound. I’ve often sung it to our cats when they’re in a recalcitrant mood.

The Jayhawks are based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Angelyne is truly a song from the north country.

Mark Olson returned to the band to cut the Mockingbird Time album. I’m one of the few fans who likes that album. Tiny Arrows is the best thing on it.

Olson blew up The Jayhawks reunion by dissing the three albums made without him. Gary Louris was not amused.

Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces was the single from the Paging Mr. Proust album and an excellent example of the band’s current sound.

Everybody Knows was written by Gary Louris in collaboration with the Dixie Chicks who recorded it first. I prefer this version.

Ready for some lagniappe? Here’s The Jayhawks’ swell cover of a Grand Funk Railroad song. They’re both American bands.