Another album that mattered

I’ve written about the Jayhawks on here before. I’ve probably preached the gospel of their Byrdsish brand of folky countryish poppish rock to you personally, if you’re reading this. But it’s really hard to overstate how important this band was to me.

If you’ve read my album posts so far, you’ve probably detected a common theme. I’m not a real current, with it kind of music fan. I’m more likely to be listening to the Carter Family than I am anything on the current charts. And I’m kind of a music snob. I disdain most of what passes for modern pop music and if I’m not careful, I get holier-than-thou about it REALLY fast.

I discovered the Jayhawks at a time in my life when I had a) no time, b) no money and c) no inclination to care about anything less than 25 years old musically. It didn’t matter. These guys broke down the wall. The album above, Rainy Day Music, was my favorite. It might still be on some days. Of course, I was somewhat relieved to learn that the band was on hiatus by the time I discovered them, so I did not have to worry about any sort of commerical explosion which would make me anotherĀ pop fan lunatic. (Sorry, there’s the snob).

The Jayhawks, to quote the legendary Ricky Bobby, piss excellence. This album flows through emotional and musical realms with grace and ease. “Tailspin” is a great rocker, “Angelyne” is the haunting poppy regret, “All the Right Reasons” is as good of a love song as you’ll ever here. There are phrases on here that are so beautiful and well-sung that they could be on my favorites list just off of those phrases.

“Rainy Day Music” was the last Jayhawks album. It’s a great one. So are all the others really. Every true music fan has a singer or band that they love that never really hits commerically, that makes them question marketing, label commitment, and sanity of the people who don’t dig this band. The Jayhawks are mine. Even if they never save the world or even scratched radio play or the Billboard charts, they gave me some great music and washed out a healthy dose of musical cynicism. Small miracles are sometimes the best kind.

Joe

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