Home Read Classic Album Review: The Jayhawks | Rainy Day Music

Classic Album Review: The Jayhawks | Rainy Day Music

The Minnesota vets continue to evolve beyond their roots on their third Olson-free LP.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


When is a band no longer a band? Well, for many, The Jayhawks stopped being The Jayhawks after founder and leader Mark Olson left back in the mid-’90s. And the fact that the group not only refused to curl up and die, but also had the temerity to evolve beyond their alt-country roots, rankles them to no end.

I can only urge them to avoid Rainy Day Music, the band’s third Olson-free album, if only to spare themselves further discontent. Because make no mistake, the ’hawks are flying high again, here, bridging the gap between the Beatles-pop they embraced on 2000’s Smile and the twangy California folk and country-rock of their early days. With graceful harmonies nicked from Buffalo Springfield, casually loping beats that recall early Eagles and jangly guitars borrowed from The Byrds, the boys channel the spirits of the Woodstock generation on breezy, hippie-scented numbers like Stumbling Through The Dark, Madman and Save It For A Rainy Day, with the occasional overseas detour provided by rockier fare like the Who-influenced Come To The River and the Fabby Don’t Let The World Get In Your Way. Granted, they’re not the same old Jayhawks. Thing is, in some ways they might be a better one.