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View Full Version : New Zealand gearing up for Gary and Mark...article!!!


girl incognito1
04-30-2009, 03:59 PM
http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/blogs/blog-on-the-tracks/2367380/The-Jayhawks-are-back-kinda

The Jayhawks are back (kinda)
Last updated 08:46 28/04/2009SharePrint Text Size 2 commentsI spoke to Gary Louris last week. He and Mark Olson are touring New Zealand mid-May with shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch (see here for details). And as you may have already known - or worked out from the title of this post - they were the principal writers/singers for the Americana act The Jayhawks.

Their tour of New Zealand will see the two strum-chums playing as a duo, two acoustic guitars, two voices, two complementary styles and their indelible harmonic blend. They will play Jayhawks material and songs from the album the pair released last year, Ready for the Flood.

"We may even," Louris tells me, "throw in a song or two from my solo album [Vagabonds, also released last year] and there might be a song or two from The Creekdippers [Olson's post-Jayhawks band] - we're really going to play a range of stuff. It's not about egos; it's about playing music together. We found the bond was strong."

When I speak to Louris he is in Santa Fe, "it's about 4pm and we're at a day-spa, a day off in the middle of a tour; a much needed day off. We're having natural sprays and mud wraps and"...he laughs when I cut in and tell him how very rock'n'roll that all sounds. "Yeah, it's not very rock'n'roll at all, right, but it is very necessary; we needed this."

Olson and Louris have been touring hard, making up for lost time. The Jayhawks were formed by the pair in 1985 and across the four albums the band recorded up until 1995 Mark and Gary shared the songwriting, working together and separately, competing at times, helping each other too. It was a songwriting partnership that saw Olson keep Louris from venturing too far towards pop. At the same time he offered light and fuzzy textures to Olson's sometimes darker material. The blend of their voices was sublime. But Olson decided that he had had enough and formed The Creekdippers with his then-wife Victoria Williams.

From there, Louris took The Jayhawks towards an alt-pop sound and away from the not-yet-described-as-alt-country sound that the band had all but perfected.

The Jayhawks would record some very strong material without Olson - and Olson seemed to be doing fine without The Jayhawks but by 2005 Louris says he disbanded the group. "It was getting to be too much. We had road burn from the touring. I just didn't want to play that much anymore. So I retired the band name."

He has been active since, producing material for others, writing songs for The Dixie Chicks and almost simultaneously releasing his first solo album and the duo project with Olson. But before that could happen some discussions needed to take place:

"Mark and I have mended fences," Louris explains with a chuckle. "We sat down over a period of time, had some therapy sessions and got it all out in the open. We decided that we wanted to play together and we realised, in playing back old material, that the songs of The Jayhawks - most of 'em anyway - really did stand up."

Initially the call came in 2001 to record some music for a film and that saw Louris partnering with Olson for the project ("in the end they didn't use our song, but it's been chess moves from us since then, I guess. We stayed in touch, things got easier").

Louris actually recorded the album with Olson earlier, even though his own Vagabonds appeared first.

"That was some kind of music company thing, I guess. The record with Mark was ready and I recorded Vagabonds and that got released first, but the album with Mark was a case of just sitting down and recording live, just playing guitars and singing and working out the material together. It felt really good. And we started doing some shows."

This is not a reunion tour like The Eagles with separate travel and Louris does not expect them to end up like an occasionally warring Simon & Garfunkel. "We've been through it all, patched things up and we're doing it for the music but also it is about making some money - of course it is. And playing together, with just us, or a small ensemble, is sustainable. We can't take a big band on the road all year."

The pair have played Europe and been across America. And now the decision has come to use the name The Jayhawks again, occasionally. "We realised there's still a bit of a fan base out there and lot of other things have happened. I mean, Karen Grotberg [a former band member] has a daughter who's grown now, so she can go out on the road again from time to time."

Louris reckons they will perform as The Jayhawks "about 10-12 times a year. It started with a festival and there was some interest in Europe so we're just going to take it from there. We don't want to wear it out and make it seem like some sad long reunion, but at the same time if we're together and playing the songs we might as well call it The Jayhawks. It might bring some more people in - and they are our songs. We wrote them, we think they still sound pretty good and we think we can still sing them decently too."

Fans can get excited about a heap of Jayhawks-related activity - in terms of album reissues and DVD projects. "I've been involved in a lot of that," Louris says enthusiastically. "We've been scouring the archives and organising. There's a lot about to happen, fans should be pleased. There's the Sony Legacy Editions happening, meaning the first few albums are all getting a makeover and there'll be DVD content to go with them and rarities and B-sides. And there's a solo best-of coming out really soon and a box-set with rarities and DVD content."

He tells me watching old tapes has been a nice rush of nostalgia ("we were a great live band") and is very much looking forward to making his debut visit to New Zealand. "Our friends from the band Wilco told us it's a great place so we're really excited. We were supposed to play there sometime back around 1994, I think, with Counting Crows, but the lead singer-guy, Adam [Duritz], had some kind of throat problem..."

Louris is not finished with being a solo artist yet either - Vagabonds was his first solo record and he says he's always writing and looking forward to releasing more material alone. And will The Jayhawks put out more material; new stuff? "Well, I guess it's a case of never say never, but we'll see. We're really pleased with the album we've just done together and we'll be playing a lot of those songs and a lot of old Jayhawks songs. I guess the show's about 50/50 and we're really excited. And I think you'll like it. And I don't know about brand new Jayhawks songs...but, ah, maybe," and he adds an almost suspicious chuckle.

For those who want some proof the voices still sound gorgeous working together, click here.

And do check out Ready for the Flood and Vagabonds. And for that matter Olson's great work in recent years. And dig out those classic Jayhawks albums too. It should be a great set of shows. They sound excited. I am excited. Are you excited?

Precious Time
04-30-2009, 07:31 PM
very informative on the DVD stuff. Yes, us fans are pleased already!

girl incognito1
04-30-2009, 07:47 PM
very informative on the DVD stuff. Yes, us fans are pleased already!

I told Gary that I'll by anything and everything!!!! LOL!!!! :cool: :cool: :cool: :D :D

zebulon
04-30-2009, 11:53 PM
WOW!! Thanks Kristy for the article! Canīt wait to put my hands and eyes and ears on all the coming stuff!

And yes, Lenno, we are pleased!:) By the way, Dutch man, had a look the other day at your blog, and enjoyed it. Good job!

girl incognito1
05-01-2009, 07:00 AM
WOW!! Thanks Kristy for the article! Canīt wait to put my hands and eyes and ears on all the coming stuff!

And yes, Lenno, we are pleased!:) By the way, Dutch man, had a look the other day at your blog, and enjoyed it. Good job!

Anytime Honey...I'm so stoked for Gary and Mark and I hope they just soak up the experience going to New Zealand and Aus!!!! Chance of a lifetime, you might as well grab it by the horns and go!!!!!! :cool: :cool: :cool:

JoMama
05-04-2009, 06:29 PM
I've never travelled to the Southern Hemisphere, so I wonder if there is a special version of jet lag that goes with it.
I'd love to hear about how folks deal with this, as I may make it to Oz in coming years.
I think I can deal with the toilet water spinning a different direction, but will our boys have extra stuff to deal with getting acclimated to the other top of the world?

Haggischomper
05-04-2009, 06:32 PM
I've never travelled to the Southern Hemisphere, so I wonder if there is a special version of jet lag that goes with it.

Yer head spins in a different direction down there.

Man, I wonder if Bryn will buy the boys a legendary Vaginal Backwash beer. When in Rome etc etc...... :eek: :D

Haggischomper
05-04-2009, 06:37 PM
And yes, Lenno, we are pleased!:) By the way, Dutch man, had a look the other day at your blog, and enjoyed it. Good job!

I tried leaving him a comment on it but I don't think it took. Of course, I don't speak Dutch so I may have pressed the wrong button