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The Jayhawks ‘Mockingbird Time’ (Album Review)

Sunday, 25 September 2011 Written by Rob Sleigh
The Jayhawks ‘Mockingbird Time’ (Album Review)

As a very brief introduction for anyone unfamiliar with the work of Minnesota’s The Jayhawks, they are a band that have been making highly influential country rock music for over 25 years. So your apologies for the late start are graciously accepted. However, if you are already acquainted, you’ll be pleased to hear that the original line-up, including founding member Mark Olson, are back together for the first time since 1995’s ‘Tomorrow the Green Grass’.

ImageSo, for the band’s eighth album and first in eight years - not to mention the one that fellow frontman Gary Louris recently suggested might be “the best Jayhawks album that’s ever been done” – the quintet have definitely made up for lost time on their latest effort ‘Mockingbird Time’. Louris and Olson’s famous dual vocals, which existing ‘hawks fans will undoubtedly be familiar with from the band’s earlier days, has been revived once again and gets the album off to a pleasant enough start on uplifting and bluesy opener ‘Hide Your Colours’. Anyone so far unaware of the Jayhawks work, but intrigued by the sound of their newest offering, will probably agree with the description that the group are a much rougher and readier-sounding Eagles.

The band’s use of Americana music is particularly broad on ‘Mockingbird Time’, blending elements of rock, folk, blues and country throughout the album’s 12 songs. The latter genre is particularly noticeable on a track called ‘Tiny Arrows’, which is the closest to a traditional country sound that the band have gone this time around with the use of a slide guitar that quaintly brings images of roadside diners and saloons into the equation.

In addition to the aforementioned lighthearted Eagles comparison, listeners may also notice hints of a range of other artists in The Jayhawks music. The title track, for example, is almost like a cross between Neil Young and a somewhat mellower Rolling Stones number, while ‘Pouring Rain at Dawn’ is a Simon and Garfunkel-esque acoustic folk tune that is spliced with moments of countryish guitar music. Elsewhere, such as on the songs ‘Guilder Annie’ and ‘Black-Eyed Susan’, an almost psychedelic rock element can be found that brings a certain Floydian aspect to proceedings.

Ultimately however, The Jayhawks have created another great album with an essential Jayhawks sound. A welcome return indeed – and, hopefully, a lasting one.

Stereoboard Rating: 8/10

The Jayhawks ‘Closer To Your Side’

The Jayhawks UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu March 8th 2012 - Barbican Hall, London
Sat March 10th 2012 - HMV Picture House, Edinburgh
Sun March 11th 2012 - O2 Academy Liverpool, Liverpool
Mon March 12th 2012 - O2 Academy Bristol, Bristol

Click Here to Compare & Buy The Jayhawks Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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