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Jay Hawks

Nov 24th 2019 @ Magic Bag

Ferndale, MI
I Was There
Sunday, November 24th, 2019
8:00 PM
Magic Bag
22920 Woodward Ave, Ferndale, MI 48220
Limited Seating. First Come, First Served. 18+ w/ Valid IDIts the start of a brand new adventure. sings Gary Louris on Quiet Corners the opening track on The Jayhawks new album Paging Mr. Proust. The band itself is not brand new, having formed in Minneapolis in 1985, the album shows a commitment to adventure and forward motion which makes this collection of songs exciting and instantly memorable. I am 44 years old this year, and have been a Jayhawks fan since 1986, when I was in high school. I grew up in Minneapolis, and was enthralled by the rock and roll bands coming out of my hometown. The Jayhawks are the band from this era with serious staying power. Theyve pushed forward through a number of lineup changes to create nine distinct studio records over their 30-year history; Ive been listening through most of my life and I very much believe the Jayhawks are one of the Great American Rock Bands. The Jayhawks were first known to me as a band that melded traditional country sounds with a modern rock approach. At some point people called that Americana, I guess. But theyve done a lot of other things too, and they largely eschew the twang on Paging Mr. Proust. Instead, they pair a classic Brit-rock sound with a kind of playful experimentation. To me, this record is as strong as anything theyve done, and thats saying a great deal. In terms of personnel, this album is a return to the lineup that recorded the Sound of Lies (1997) and Smile (2000) albums, but the band feels like its very much pushing onward while still acknowledging past glories. Louris told me that the band worked harder in pre-production than on any previous Jayhawks record, and that most of the songs were demoed in his home studio before recording the album with co-producers Peter Buck and Tucker Martine in Portland, OR. The albums title Paging Mr. Proust is a reference to Marcel Prousts novel In Search of Lost Time and the lyrics often show a longing for a less chaotic and distracted experience than todays 24/7 information age. Proust isnt the only literary figure that shows up, as Robert Frost, David Foster Wallace and John Keats also appear, each one seemingly suggesting that we slow down a bit. Even the cover photo, a shot of the TWA terminal at New Yorks Idlewild Airport (aka JFK) in the 1960s, suggests an exciting time that looked towards the future, but was still human. I think this mirrors the songs on the record, which are at once comforting and progressive. In todays age of miniscule attention spans, these songs seem to be about small moments, and Louris magnifies and explores these moments to find something compelling and enthralling within. Quiet Corners , is the first track on the record as well as its first single. Its upbeat and sunny with a soaring melody and a 60s feel. The chorus comes quickly, and rewards with classic Jayhawks harmonies. The quiet corners and empty spaces that Louris is looking for are escapes from a life where we drown in ups and downs. The song, like the album, asks us to hit pause on our lives and notice the small wonders around us. To me, the way that Louris, drummer Tim OReagan and keyboardist Karen Grotberg sing together is one such wonder. Its a fitting invitation into the record.
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