Much-loved Minneapolis roots rockers the Jayhawks (see story, page 12) surface for their first album since the 2000 set Smile (and their first on Lost Highway).

Much-loved Minneapolis roots rockers the Jayhawks (see story, page 12) surface for their first album since the 2000 set Smile (and their first on Lost Highway). Rainy Day Music finds th-e group expanding nicely on its alt-country pedigree. As always, the 'hawks wear their influences proudly: "Stumbling Through the Dark" is Beatles with a banjo, and "Tailspin" has a likeable George Harrison vibe. Still very much his own hybrid, however, frontman Gary Louris is starkly tender on the soothing "All the Right Reasons" and well-drawn "Tampa to Tulsa," while "Save It for a Rainy Day" and "Angelyne" are lyrically potent, soaring gems. The first-rate melodies and harmonies are all grace and style, and the organ-fueled "The Eyes of Sarah" is welcome steam but could use a little more rock infusion. It's hard to find fault with such a well-crafted record, but one does wonder what would happen if the Jayhawks cranked up the amps a notch.—RW

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