The Jayhawks, the lauded Americana band originally from Minneapolis, are reuniting their mid-90s line-up for a pair of summer shows, with plans to play together more next year.
The band is set to headline the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis on July 10, marking the first time the Jayhawks will play with both principals Gary Louris and Mark Olson in the United States in over a decade. The band is also booked for the Primavira Sound '09 Festival in Barcelona, Spain on May 30.
For the band's first decade, the Jayhawks were defined by the harmonizing and the co-writing of Olson and Louris. But Olson departed following the band's tour behind 1995's "Tomorrow the Green Grass."
Louris and Olson remained estranged until October 2001, when they convened at Olson's home in Joshua Tree, Calif., to write a group of songs for the 2002 film "The Rookie." While they were never used in the film (one appeared on Olson's 2002 album "December's Child"), that session eventually led to a series of live shows over the past few years, and eventually a new acoustic album, "Ready for the Flood."
"Ready for the Flood," produced by Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson, was recorded in Los Angeles in January 2007, but wasn't released until earlier this year. The duo is about to embark on a West Coast tour before heading off for dates in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
"We've both been playing a lot the last couple of years," Olson tells Billboard.com. "Gary had a solo record. I had a solo record. And then we made this record together and we've been touring on that. During the course of this time we'd been contacted by some promoters in Spain. There's quite a fan base there, its a place where they played the Jayhawks records a lot. We played at a festival is the Basque region last August.
"That was the first time I'd played with the Jayhawks in over 10 years. It was really fun. It was Karen [Grotberg] and Tim [O'Reagan] and Marc [Perlman] and Gary and me. We played pretty much all of "Hollywood Town Hall" and "Tomorrow The Green Grass."
"I have some friends in Spain who were very persistent about getting a Jayhawks show there and they really wanted the 'Green Grass' lineup," says Louris, who owns a house in Spain and splits his time between there and Minneapolis. "Since Mark and I are now buddies again, and the fact that Karen is now willing to do some shows because now her daughter is old enough for her to leave for periods of time, its just become more viable."
While Louris and Olson focus primarily on new material on their acoustic tours, the prospect of regular Jayhawks gigs gives them an opportunity to revisit the earlier, fuller sound of the band and breathe new life into some of their classic songs.
"Our approach right now is to look forward. Olson and I have a record out, we're going to record another, maybe make solo records and do the Jayhawks occasionally," Louris explains. "I think the plan is that we're going to play festivals, next year we're hoping to play Bonnaroo and things like that. We'll see if it grows from there. I don't know how much Karen can tour, or how much any of us want to do a full band tour. As far as recording together, we don't have any plans to do that. But if we continue to do it and we're just loving it, then of course you need new songs."
Mark Olson & Gary Louris acoustic tour dates:
April 6: Seattle, WA (Triple Door)
April 7: Portland, OR (Aladdin)
April 9: San Francisco, CA (Great American Music Hall)
April 10: Santa Cruz (The Crepe Place)
April 11: Los Angeles, CA (Largo At The Coronet)
April 12: Solana Beach, CA (Belly Up)
April 13: Tucson, AZ (Club Congress)
April 15: Santa Fe, NM (Santa Fe Brewing Company)
April 17: Dallas, TX (Sons Of Hermann Hall)
April 18: Austin, TX (Antone's)
The Jayhawks tour dates:
May 30th: Barcelona, Spain (Primavira Sound '09 Festival)
July 10: Minneapolis, MN (Basilica Block Party)