Jayhawks reuniting for summer shows

Fri Apr 3, 2009 1:43am EDT

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NEW YORK (Billboard) - Americana band the Jayhawks is reuniting for a pair of summer shows, with plans to play together next year as well.

The band's mid-'90s lineup will headline the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis on July 10, marking the first time the Jayhawks will play with both principals, Gary Louris and Mark Olson, in the United States in over a decade. The band is also booked for the Primavira Sound '09 Festival in Barcelona on May 30.

For the band's first decade, the Jayhawks were defined by the harmonizing and the co-writing of Olson and Louris. But Olson departed after the band's tour promoting 1995's "Tomorrow the Green Grass."

Louris and Olson remained estranged until October 2001, when they convened at Olson's home in Joshua Tree, California, to write a group of songs for the 2002 film "The Rookie." The tunes weren't used in the film (one appeared on Olson's 2002 album "December's Child"), but that session led to a series of live shows over the past few years, and eventually a new acoustic album, "Ready for the Flood."

That album, produced by Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson, was recorded in Los Angeles in January 2007, but wasn't released until earlier this year. The duo is about to embark on a West Coast tour before heading off for dates in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

"We've both been playing a lot the last couple of years," Olson told Billboard.com. "Gary had a solo record. I had a solo record. And then we made this record together and we've been touring on that. During the course of this time we'd been contacted by some promoters in Spain. There's quite a fan base there. ... We played at a festival in the Basque region last August."

Louris, who owns a house in Spain and splits his time between there and Minneapolis, said that some of his friends in Spain "were very persistent about getting a Jayhawks show there, and they really wanted the 'Green Grass' lineup."

While Louris and Olson focus primarily on new material on their acoustic tours, the prospect of regular Jayhawks gigs gives them an opportunity to revisit the earlier, fuller sound of the band and breathe new life into some of their classic songs.

"Our approach right now is to look forward. Olson and I have a record out, we're going to record another, maybe make solo records and do the Jayhawks occasionally," Louris said. "I think the plan is that we're going to play festivals. Next year we're hoping to play Bonnaroo and things like that. We'll see if it grows from there."

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

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