The Jayhawks will always be one of my favorite bands.? They exist below the surface, having never really garnered the fans they deserved.? Even though they broke up after 2003’s Rainy Day Music, their records (including Hollywood Town Hall, Smile, and Tommorow the Green Grass) sound as fresh today as ever.
The short of it is, that Gary Louris and The Jayhawks were at the forefront of contemporary Americana, layering rich textures, twinkling piano and guitar solos behind stories of the downtrodden.
Dodge over at MOKB does a great interview with Gary Louris, looking back at The Jayhawks’s place in music and towards the future for his solo career.
MOKB : Hollywood Town Hall is considered by many to be one of the definitive Americana records. How do you feel about that? Is it your favorite Jayhawks record?
GL: I really don’t consider that at all because I don’t really sit and listen to it. I just remember it as being an important record for us and certainly it’s one of my favorite records to have been involved with. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite, but it’s an important period. Without it…well, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now probably because it’s one of those things…kinda changed our career…changed some bit of music…and I think it’s something that we couldn’t repeat. It’s one of these things, people say, “Hey, why don’t you do that again?” Well, we weren’t trying to do it to begin with, it just happened.
MOKB : At what point did you make a conscious break and decide to pursue a solo career?
GL: It was coming to a head after The Sound Of Lies, in which we were able to stretch and, I think, do some really interesting things. Smile, I think was really a conscious effort to make a commercial record. I felt like Rainy Day Music was like a retreat in “let’s make a small record.”
MOKB : It’s a nice coda to The Jayhawks story.
GL: Yeah, it’s a nice period. I think when we were making that record, we all kinda knew it was most likely going to be our last record. We all still really liked each other, still really played well together, but…I think we were a little tired I think, tired of each other. Tired of the world we had built up seemed not changing enough to keep us interested. I think we could have gone on. Just listening to the Let It Be sessions, with Paul, John and George, I mean, not that we were nearly as big as The Beatles, but you can hear…I was just listening to it with my son, the Fly On The Wall CD that comes with Naked. And you can hear them talking and my son was saying, “They’re still talking to each other. They don’t sound like they’re breaking up or fighting,” and I said, “Well you know what, they’re still friends. They’re old friends and they make great music together. Just because they’re breaking up doesn’t mean they stop making great music or aren’t great friends.” That’s how I feel about The Jayhawks. We’re still friends, made great music, had a big career, but it seemed like it was passing us by a bit, you know.
Gary Louris is currently on tour, dates after the jump.?? His new album Vagabond is out now.
Gary Louris On Tour:
3/20 San Francisco
3/21 Los Angeles
4/2 New York
4/4 Chapel Hill