With expanded and remastered versions of their “Sound of Lies,” “Smile” and “Rainy Day Music” albums due starting July 1, the Jayhawks are putting the old band back together for a series of Minnesota gigs -- though it won’t be the old old band playing those gigs but the newer old band. Got it?
The late-’90s Jayhawks lineup -- with Kraig Johnson on guitar and without original co-leader Mark Olson – were already confirmed to play the third annual Hazelfest at Hazelden Treatment Facility in Center City on Aug. 2. Today, they newly announced a pair shows at First Avenue on Sept 5 and 6, tickets for which go on sale Friday at noon via eTix. Check the band's social media sites for presale access starting today.
Just as he did with “Sound of Lies” in 1997 after Olson quit the band, singer/guitarist Gary Louris will lead the band all by his lonesome again. Keyboardist Karen Grotberg will also return to the fold, along with the steady rhythm section of co-founding bassist Marc Perlman and drummer/co-vocalist Tim O’Reagan, each of whom also contributed to the songwriting on those albums. Also known from Golden Smog, Johnson recorded and toured with the band during the "Sound of Lies" and "Smile" era, in which they eschewed their alt-twangy roots for more of a classic rock sound.
With Communist Daughter and Davina & the Vagabonds also on the bill, the Hazelden gig should be a nice, meaningful kick-off to the proceedings -- an alcohol-free outdoor gig in a scenic setting, with a nod to Louris’ own completion of a recovery program in 2012. He has been playing solo gigs in the interim and has another one Friday with Grotberg at the Hilde Performance Center in Plymouth, a pairing with the Gear Daddies.
Each of the three Jayhawks albums will be reissued with four to five bonus tracks apiece. Still under Rick Rubin’s American Recordings banner (now part of the Universal Music umbrella), the reissues will arrive July 1 on CD but not until Aug. 5 on double-LP vinyl. Word is the vinyl pressing plants are too backed up from all those damn vinyl-buying indie kids to accommodate bands like this who issued vinyl when it wasn't even cool.