The Jayhawks, "Music From The North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology"

64 Billboard Rating

Underappreciated modern Americana band the Jayhawks gets its due on new anthology "Music from the North Country," which summarizes a long and winding career to impressive effect. Centered on the harmonies of Minneapolis-based songwriters Gary Louris and Mark Olson, the alternative country-rock outfit seemed destined for chart success after debuting in the mid-1980s. But Olson's departure from the band in 1995 led to a second act that sometimes veered toward experimental pop. The collection is the Jayhawks' first-ever compilation and does a stunning job covering the group's material. Olson-era cuts like "Two Angels" and "Blue" sit pleasantly alongside latter-day fare like "Smile" and "Tailspin," positing the Jayhawks as one of the best of its era despite a lack of commercial breaks. A rarities disc shows off more of the group's rootsy side, as the likes of "Falling Star" and "Stone Cold Mess" explain is fate: too rock for country fans, and a bit too country for rock radio. The Jayhawks were destined to be a cult classic. --Troy Carpenter