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Rainy Day Music (Limited Edition)

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Album Review

The Jayhawks' seventh album backs away from their "super-pop" releases like Smile and the underrated Sound of Lies and looks back to their earlier, rootsier sound. The band has whittled itself down again following the departures of keyboardist Jen Gunderman and longtime guitarist Kraig Johnson, leaving behind core songwriter and vocalist Gary Louris, founding member Marc Perlman on bass, and longtime drummer Tim O'Reagan assisted by newcomer Stephen McCarthy on guitar. Produced by Ethan Johns (and overseen by Rick Rubin), Rainy Day Music goes back even further than the band's first albums, channeling the ghosts of the Byrds, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Buffalo Springfield, and interpreting their '60s folk jangle and lazy, sunny harmonies through the Jayhawks' own sweetly awkward formula. "Madman," in particular, gives the listener a sense of Déjà Vu, sounding like a long lost CSNY demo, and the chiming Rickenbacker 12-string guitar of the leadoff track, "Stumbling Through the Dark," could've been lifted right from the master tapes of "Mr. Tambourine Man." The first six tracks are all vintage Louris gems — trembling and honest, with warm melodies and hooks for days. Unfortunately, the album stumbles in the second half with the inclusion of two O' Reagan compositions (which try too hard to evoke John Lennon's world-weary mumble and Bob Dylan's nasal whine), and an unsuccessful stab at heartland gospel on "Come to the River." Although the summertime love song "Angelyne" and the waltzing "Will I See You in Heaven" provide bright spots near the end, the album never fully recovers. This is a real shame, since the whole affair starts so strong, and it seems as though if side B could've been trimmed by about four songs (and 15 minutes), Rainy Day Music would stand alongside their strongest albums. Still, fans who complained that their last two albums were "too poppy" or "not rootsy enough" should be pleased with this direction, and it's certainly an album that gets better with each listen, so it may yet prove to be worth its weight in acoustic gold.

Customer Reviews

Best of 2003!!

Amazing Amazing performance…… no words...

Awesome

Just an awesome album!

Might Be My New Favorite Album!

This album is beyond exceptional. I can't even describe it in words. Like it has to incredible ranging if different melodies but makes the listener sound at ease. Some really great songs on the album,and the harmonica added in along with some other unique instruments gives it a great touch! Want to buy this album now as a CD! Definitely recommend to all!

Biography

Formed: 1985 in Minneapolis, MN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Led by the gifted songwriting, impeccable playing, and honeyed harmonies of vocalists/guitarists Mark Olson and Gary Louris, the Jayhawks' shimmering blend of country, folk, and bar band rock made them one of the most widely acclaimed artists to emerge from the alternative country scene. The group sprang up in 1985 out of the fertile musical community of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Olson had been playing standup bass in a rockabilly band called Stagger Lee. His desire to write and perform his own...
Full Bio