The Jayhawks finished recording their new album in the fall and have big plans for the summer. / Photo by Steve Cohen

The Jayhawks finished recording their new album in the fall and have big plans for the summer. / Photo by Steve Cohen

The Jayhawks have (not surprisingly) added a second First Ave show for Jan. 30 to go along with the long-since sold-out Jan. 29 gig. Tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. for $30 through Ticketmaster or else they are on sale here via the club's site. Those dates wind down a short two-week tour.

Talking by phone yesterday to promote their upcoming reissues (out Jan. 18), Gary Louris and Mark Olson also filled us in more on the brand new Jayhawks album. For starters: It's essentially done. Louris is currently holed up in Tucson, Ariz., working on the final mix of the record at a friend's studio, Wave Lab.

"I've done just a few little overdubs here, but about 99% of the record was completed up there" at the Terrarium, Louris said. They spent about a full month in the northeast Minneapolis studio last fall, with Louris as "sort of the designated producer," he said. They started writing the new songs for the album together last spring and met up all over the map to round 'em off, from Minneapolis to Joshua Tree to Norway. Then the whole band got together for the three shows at First Ave in June, which Louris aptly described as a "love-in between us and the fans, and between all of us in the band." After that, he said, "It felt like we owed it to the fans, and to ourselves."

Once they got in the studio, Olson said the recording methodology was more organic than the way they made the "Hollywood Town Hall" and "Tomorrow the Green Grass" albums, which -- as the liner notes in the new reissues note -- were quite long and arduous affairs. "I didn't want to sit around slowly building up the tracks for weeks piece by piece, I wanted to sing right away," Olson said. "We can do that now, though. I think Gary and I are much better singers now, and the band are all better players. We've all done so many different things since we last made a record together, those years of experience are bound to add up."

Louris one-upped him: "I can't think of another band that has come back from hiatus and made its best album, but I really think we've done it."

And while release dates of albums are always about as tentative as Brett Favre's retirement plans (the reissues were supposed to be out last year), it really looks like the new one will be out by summer: "We're lining up the tour dates," Olson reported. "We'll probably be hitting everywhere this time, including Europe and all over North America."

Look for an in-depth discussion on the reissues in print timed to the band's First Ave gigs. Also, check out the band's new website, designed by Rogue Valley drummer Luke Anderson and photographer Steve Cohen. It includes a stream of a bootleg from 7th Street Entry in 1985, one of the band's earliest gigs.