Jayhawks haven't lost a step on new LP 'Mockingbird Time'

After parting ways in the mid-’90s, Jayhawks vocalists Mark Olson and Gary Louris re-teamed for an acoustic tour in 2005, which went so well they toured again and made a duo album under their own names in 2009. Finally they made it official with a full-on reunion, resulting in “Mockingbird Time” (Rounder), their first release together as the Jayhawks since “Tomorrow the Green Grass” in 1995.

It’s as if no time has passed at all. Olson and Louris still harmonize as if their voices were made to go together. They handle the slower, mournful songs with the same easy grace as the upbeat material, summoning a golden, elegiac feel on the title track and layering bright harmonies over jangling guitar on “She Walks in So Many Ways,” the catchiest song on the album. (Listen here.)

The Jayhawks these days also features mid-’90s members Tim O’Reagan, Karen Grotberg and Marc Perlman, who help flesh out the band’s country-rock sound. There are twangy electric guitar licks over spare piano chords on “Pouring Rain at Dawn,” extra backing vocals on “Closer to Your Side” and an abundance of heart — and soul — throughout. “Mockingbird Time” is a welcome return by a band that has lost none of its vibrancy.

— Text by Eric R. Danton, photo courtesy of Rounder Records

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