With the Jayhawks reportedly set to embark later this year on their first extensive tour with the original lineup led by principal songwriters Gary Louris and Mark Olson since 1995 (and a new album reportedly set to follow), a fresh new dust-off of Olson's last album with the band couldn't have come at a more opportune time.
This deluxe remastered edition of 1995's classic Tomorrow The Green Grass from Sony/Legacy was released last month, along with its 1992 predecessor Hollywood Town Hall. Of the two repackaged albums, Tomorrow The Green Grass gets the more ambitious treatment by far.
In addition to a beautifully done remastering job on the original album (overseen by Olson and Louris, along with original producer George Drakoulias), the deluxe expanded double-disc edition also includes the first appearance on an officially sanctioned release of the "Mystery Demos."
Recorded in 1992 during two separate sessions in Los Angeles and their native Minneapolis, these early, acoustic versions of songs that eventually wound up making the final cut for Tomorrow The Green Grass — as well as subsequent solo albums by Olson and Louris and Jayhawks offshoot Golden Smog — have long since attained mythical status among hardcore fans. These recordings offer a rare glimpse into the songwriting process behind some of Olson and Louris' greatest songs (not to mention some rarities heard for the very first time on an official release).
Even so, it is still the original 1995 Tomorrow The Green Grass album that is the main event here. Despite receiving unanimous praise from critics when it was originally released, the album was largely slept upon in terms of actual record sales. Today, it is regarded as a classic and rightfully so.
As good as its predecessor Hollywood Town Hall was, Tomorrow The Green Grass was the defining moment where the Jayhawks first began to shed some of their more obvious country-rock influences (Burritos, Byrds, Everlys, and Neil Young primarily) heard on the former album, and begin to find their own unique voice as songwriters and as a band. Not that these influences are abandoned altogether here. Indeed, the harmonies are sweeter and crisper sounding than ever before on songs like "Two Hearts" and especially the absolutely gorgeous album opener "Blue."