11 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though technically a Jayhawks album (and featuring some previously unrecorded material), Back Roads and Abandoned Motels takes on the unusual task of exploring songs written and cowritten for other artists by the band’s frontman, Gary Louris—a side hustle Louris leaned into more heavily when the Jayhawks went on hiatus in the mid-2000s. Despite their provenance, the songs here fit comfortably into the rootsy, reflective, but subtly polished sound the band has mined throughout their three-decade career. With touches of Celtic music (“Bitter End,” one of four songs he wrote for the Dixie Chicks’ 2006 LP, Taking the Long Way), low-key gospel (“Gonna Be a Darkness,” for Jakob Dylan), and CSNY-esque folk-rock (“El Dorado,” for Texan singer/songwriter Carrie Rodriguez), Back Roads is a testament to the idea that no matter where he goes, Louris can't help but be himself.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though technically a Jayhawks album (and featuring some previously unrecorded material), Back Roads and Abandoned Motels takes on the unusual task of exploring songs written and cowritten for other artists by the band’s frontman, Gary Louris—a side hustle Louris leaned into more heavily when the Jayhawks went on hiatus in the mid-2000s. Despite their provenance, the songs here fit comfortably into the rootsy, reflective, but subtly polished sound the band has mined throughout their three-decade career. With touches of Celtic music (“Bitter End,” one of four songs he wrote for the Dixie Chicks’ 2006 LP, Taking the Long Way), low-key gospel (“Gonna Be a Darkness,” for Jakob Dylan), and CSNY-esque folk-rock (“El Dorado,” for Texan singer/songwriter Carrie Rodriguez), Back Roads is a testament to the idea that no matter where he goes, Louris can't help but be himself.

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