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The Jayhawks

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Minneapolis, United States (1985 – present)

The Jayhawks are an American alt-country and rock band that began in the mid-1980s. On hiatus from 2005 to 2009, the band reunited and, in September 2011, released a new album, “Mockingbird Time”.

Led by the gifted songwriting, impeccable playing, and honeyed harmonies of vocalists/guitarists Gary Louris and Mark Olson, the Jayhawks’ shimmering blend of , , and made them one of the most widely acclaimed artists to emerge from the alternative country scene. The group sprung up in 1985 out of the fertile Minneapolis, Minnesota, musical community, where Olson had been playing standup bass in a band called Stagger Lee until his desire to write and perform his own country-folk material prompted him to begin a solo career. He enlisted Marc Perlman, the guitarist for a local band called the Neglecters, whom Olson then convinced to take up the bass; after the addition of drummer Norm Rogers, the group first played in front of a crowd of less than a dozen people. One of those patrons, however, was Gary Louris, a veteran of the local bands Safety Last and Schnauzer; after the show, he and Olson began talking, and by the end of the evening Louris, a guitarist famed locally for his innovative, pedal steel-like sound, had become a member of the group, eventually named the Jayhawks.

Drawing on influences like Gram Parsons, the Louvin Brothers, Tim Hardin, and Nashville Skyline-era Bob Dylan, the Jayhawks quickly became a local favorite, honing their sound in Twin Cities clubs before releasing their eponymous debut in 1986.

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