The Jayhawks new reunion album Mockingbird Time marks the first time that principal songwriters Mark Olson and Gary Louris have made a record together — at least under the Jayhawks band name — in nearly twenty years.
But it also represents a logical conclusion to the recent renewal of interest in the band many credit with pioneering the modern day alt-country movement. At the very least, the Jayhawks two early nineties releases for American Recordings — Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow The Green Grass (Olson's last recording with the band) — are acknowledged today as classic, groundbreaking recordings.
This full band reunion follows Olson and Louris mending fences to make 2009's more acoustic based "solo" Ready For The Flood album, as well as the Jayhawks anthology Music From The North Country and expanded deluxe editions of both Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow The Green Grass.
For long suffering Jayhawks fans, these past few years have been something of a goldmine, that have also included the reissue of the mythical and long out of print Bunkhouse Album.
It would seem then, that Mockingbird Time has to be viewed as the pot at the end of that particular rainbow. The big question here is, does the end result fulfill the fans lofty expectations, or fall short the same way so many other such big time dream reunions have a way of doing?
Any such doubts are put immediately to rest on Mockingbird Time. From the first few moments that the power chords of the opening "Hide Your Colors" come thundering through your speakers, it's clear that the Jayhawks have lost nary a step despite a nearly two decade absence. Louris and Olson's trademark vocal harmonies — which along with uncommonly great songwriting, have always been this band's strongest suit anyway — remain very much intact all these many years later.