XPN Welcomes - the Jayhawks
XPN Welcomes An Evening with the Jayhawks
January 22, 2011
The Jayhawks perform.
The Jayhawks were definitely swimming against the tide when they emerged from a crowded Minneapolis music scene halfway through the 1980s – a memorable decade that saw the likes of the Replacements, Soul Asylum, Husker Du and Prince put Minnesota on the musical map in a big way. Forging a rootsy sound that wasn’t quite rock or country – “Hank Williams on speed” somebody once memorably called it – The Jayhawks quickly turned into one of the most important bands of the post-punk era. Over the course of two decades, several albums, countless memorable live shows and enough personal drama to fill a couple of Behind the Music episodes, this beloved band soared to heights few ever achieve while wining the hearts and minds of numerous critics, fans and peers in the process. Named after “The Hawks” – as in “Levon and the Hawks,” the name of Dylan’s backing band in the 60s before they became known as “The Band” – The Jayhawks and their fellow travelers even helped make the world safe again for artists who weren’t afraid to fuse traditional rock, country and folk influences into something that was both timeless and modern, just like the best American bands always have.
Formed by Mark Olson, Gary Louris, Marc Perlman and Norm Rogers in early 1985, The Jayhawks original members all came from a variety of Minneapolis bands toiling away in the hyperactive local club scene at the time. Prolific and highly motivated, the band amassed a staggering number of original songs in a very short time, culminating with a self-released eponymous debut album in 1986. After a tumultuous period that found the band actively seeking a recording contract, The Jayhawks finally landed with Twin/Tone Records, the seminal Minneapolis indie label that released early records by the Replacements and Soul Asylum. Blue Earth, released in 1989, was a quantum leap forward from the first album and garnered widespread positive reviews. It also caught the ear of Def American producer/A&R rep George Drakoulias, who legendarily heard Blue Earth playing in the background during a call to the Twin/Tone offices.
Drakoulias’ interest eventually led to a contract with Def American and the release of the band’s two best known albums, Hollywood Town Hall (1992) and Tomorrow the Green Grass (1995). Supplemented by new members Karen Grotberg on keyboards and drummer/vocalist Tim O’Reagan, the Jayhawks toured steadily during this time and developed a solid reputation as an ace live band and a force to be reckoned with in the burgeoning “Americana” scene, an association the band has always viewed with mixed feelings. During this “golden age,” it seemed that The Jayhawks were always a break or two away from major stardom; their potential was as limitless as the pile of classic songs they were cranking out apparently at will.- For more on their Bio Click here to visit the Jayhawks website