Currently experiencing an unexpected third life, Minneapolis-born rock band the Jayhawks are pioneers of what was known as the alternative country movement in the early 1990s.
They are an active touring unit again and have a new disc, Mockingbird Time, released this month.
Even more than the songs, the joy of the album comes in hearing the Jayhawks luxuriate in the signature of their sound: the vocal harmonies of songwriters Gary Louris and Mark Olson. Their voices blend so well — Louris taking the high registers and Olson the low — that they become to Louris’ ears almost like a third voice.
It’s a sound many thought was lost forever in 1995 when Olson quit the band and moved to California.
Years of swimming against the musical tide of the grunge era and disappointment that songs like Blue and Take Me With You (When You Go) had not become hits despite hard work and critical acclaim had taken their toll.
Unlike now, “we were playing in front of audiences who really didn’t know who we were and our goal — the whole reason for being out there — was to try to win them over,” Olson said. “That’s a whole different mindset and I think it got to me after a while.”