City Paper is not for tourists
Village Voice critic Joe Levy once called the Jayhawks “the only country-rock band that matters,” but mercifully, they don’t act like it. The Jayhawks work within a “country-rock” tradition defined by their obvious influences—The Band, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, the Flying Burrito Brothers—but Mark Olson and Gary Louris, the group’s singer/songwriter/guitarists, write such idiosyncratic, intimate songs that their individuality never fades into the background of that tradition. Tomorrow‘s absence of reverence gives the album a tossed-together feel and a sense that it was recorded for the band members’ pleasure alone. Producer George Drakoulias (Black Crowes) does an excellent job of keeping these fragile songs uncluttered and unhurried. Olson’s thin, nasal voice (which at times sounds lamentably like REO Speedwagon frontman Kevin Cronin’s) gives the group’s sound a homeliness that emphasizes the songs’ private quality, and makes the harmonies he sings with Louris all the prettier.