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Friday, April 06, 2007

Friday Nite Retro

THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY, and time once again for that time-travelin' experience that we call Friday Nite Retro! Tonight's featured artist is. . .The Jayhawks:

The Jayhawks are one of many bands that fall into a favorite musical style of mine that is often referred to as "alt-country". The band formed in 1985 in Minnesota with Mark Olson (acoustic guitar and vocals), Gary Louris (electric guitar and vocals), Marc Perlman (bass) and Thad Spencer (drums). Their first album The Jayhawks was released by Bunkhouse Records, a small independent label, in 1986.

Their big break didn't come until 1991, when A&R representative George Drakoulias heard their Blue Earth album playing in the background while talking to their current record company's president, Dave Ayers. Drakoulias asked about the music, and eventually met with and signed the band to his label later that year. In 1992 the Jayhawks had their major label release, "Hollywood Town Hall", on A&R's Def American label. Their folksy sound instantly generated a large fanbase, and featured this breakout hit from that album:

"Waiting for the Sun"

The band toured extensively. In 1995 they went into the studio to produce "Tomorrow the Green Grass" on the renamed American Recordings label. The record's production had been very expensive and the album failed to sell as expected. But it contained my favorite Jayhawks tune of all time:


The band's 2000 album, Smile, had more of a pop music feel, jarring some of the band's long-time fans. The New York Times positively reviewed the album, but in a nod to the band's lack of widespread recognition, titled the review "What If You Made A Classic And No One Cared?". "Somewhere in Ohio" was my favorite track from this one but, of course no vid! But this song, "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me", appeared in a Ralph Lauren commercial, and the 2001 film "All Over the Guy":

"I'm Gonna Make You Love Me"

Rainy Day Music (2003), the band's last album to date, was stripped down, more acoustic, and generally seen as a return to their alt-country roots. The following as a great tune from that album, prefaced by a nice little interview that will tell you a bit more about the band and their roots:

"Save it for a Rainy Day"

And that's a wrap on another edition of FNR. I hope Kansas is no longer the first thing that pops into your head when you hear "The Jayhawks"! =)


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Blogger Blueberry said...

How weirdly in sync we are! I just gave the Jayhawks a few spins last week after not hearing them for awhile... even thought about blogging them but got distracted. One of my favorite bands (and my husband's too)! We did get to see them twice, both times at close range. Thanks for the post.

title="comment permalink">April 07, 2007 12:37 PM  

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