Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Wheels Are Turning Once Again for the Jayhawks

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Wheels Are Turning Once Again for the Jayhawks

Article excerpt

The Jayhawks are one of the great Americana bands, though over the years that label indicative of a loosely defined mix of roots- rock, folk and country influences has become too restrictive. Let's just call them one of the great American bands.

Last year marked the 30th anniversary for the Minneapolis group. The lineup has shifted over the years, though, and there have been two significant hiatuses.

For most of the past two decades, the Jayhawks have been co- founding guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Gary Louris' ship to steer. But following the most recent hiatus, which included a falling out with co-founder and songwriting partner Mark Olson, plus a trip to rehab for a painkiller addiction, Louris wasn't even sure if he wanted to play music anymore, much less keep the Jayhawks afloat.

"I felt like music was the cause of my troubles," Louris says by phone from a friend's house in Mout Airy, Pa. "That if I had picked a more straightforward career, I could have not been exposed to certain elements or certain stresses that come with travel and a less-structured lifestyle. But I found out that music was never the problem. I needed to do music. It's what I do best."

Eventually, Louris says, he snapped out of it. "It just took me a while to get the wheels going."

Once he did, Louris recognized that the Jayhawks were the ideal vehicle for the new music he was writing. But even that was a slow process.

"For a while I entertained the idea that 'this is a clean slate,'" and that he didn't want to re-form the band. "But it just came to me over time that I really needed the Jayhawks. I needed these particular people; I needed the structure. I missed it and realized that anything I thought I wasn't getting out of the Jayhawks was my own fault." The current lineup features another co- founder, bassist Marc Perlman, keyboardist Karen Grotberg, drummer Tim O'Reagan, and touring guitarist/pedal steel player Chet Lyster. …

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