Tuesday, October 13, 2009

10/13/09 - Music Recommendation: The Jayhawks - Rainy Day Music

The Jayhawks are one of those bands that got a lot of critical praise back in the day but never sold much of their music; stuck in the alt-country gutter they pretty much honed in on a jangly Beatles/Byrds/Parsons groove and rode it through audience indifference and internal dissent. Like a lot of critically praised and audience ignored bands, it's not too hard to figure out why a lot of their material didn't connect; a decent amount of it is so tastefully played and sung as to be indistinct. I gave Tomorrow The Green Grass a good listen back in the day and just couldn't find a way to get in past the surface sheen.

But somehow I got inspired to give a re-listen to Rainy Day Music, one of their latter-day albums with Gary Louris at the creative helm (somehow nothing, I remember listening to "All The Right Reasons" in someone's car and being blown away by how good it was), and I found to my pleasure and surprise that it is a bit of a lost masterpiece. Each song has hooks for days, and the sweet vulnerability running through the songwriting provides the entry point that I couldn't quite find with the Mark Olson Jayhawks. If you like Tom Petty, the Byrds, three-part harmonies, or Beatles-y melodies with Americana arrangements, I can't recommend the album enough.

And here's the song that I still remembered years and years later:

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