It’s not the Kinks reunion that fans have been clamoring to hear, but Ray Davies did make a big announcement Monday that should delight devotees of the Jayhawks: The Minnesota country-rock legends served as the backing band on Davies’ first solo album in nine years, “Americana,” due out April 21.
A local rumor that the group kept a tight lid on for a year now, they joined the Kinks frontman at his Konk Studio in London last January. NPR Music debuted the first track from the album this morning, “Poetry” (posted below), in which the Jayhawks’ classic-but-distinctive sound is clearly audible.
Another track on the record, “Message from the Road,” is billed as a duet with the band’s keyboardist Karen Grotberg. One of the Jayhawks’ utility players in recent years, studio ace John Jackson, is listed as co-producer of the record along with Davies and Beatles reissue specialist Guy Massey. The album includes some spoken-word pieces and is loosely based on Davies’ memoir of the same title, “Americana,” which explored his love/hate relationship with England’s former colony.
This is not the first time the Jayhawks have backed a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer like this. They also collaborated with Ray’s brother Dave Davies on one track for his 2013 solo album, “I Will Be Me.” Roger McGuinn of the Byrds also enlisted them for his 1996 album, “Live from Mars.”
Gary Louris & Co. are continuing on with tour dates this spring supporting their own new record, "Paging Mr. Proust," starting with a March 11 date for grand-reopening weekend at the Palace Theatre in St. Paul.