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Interview:
The Jayhawks at The Ark, 5 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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The Jayhawks came back from a nearly four-year hiatus in 2012, and the group hasn't looked back since.

During that time it's not only produced two albums, including last year's "Paging Mr. Proust," and toured, but it's also become a band-for-hire for new albums by the Kinks' Ray Davies and Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding). That's added a new wrinkle for the Americana/alt.country pioneer act from Minneapolis, with frontman Gary Louris and bassist Marc Perlman still in the cockpit and nine albums' worth of material to continue drawing from...

Though "Paging Mr. Proust" has been out for nearly a year, Louris says by phone from North Carolina, where he now resides, that he continues to glean insights about the 12-songs set. "It usually takes more time for it to settle in and see where it sits along with teh rest of the catalog," says Louris, 62. "As usual certain songs become the go-to songs to play and others drop off a little bit and don't seem to translate live. But mostly I notice the audience seems like they embrace the record. I know it was na honest record that incorporated a lot of different aspects of our style and I think it was a successful record and certainly prefer it to the one before it (2011's 'Mockingbird Time')."

The Jayhawks' recent work for other artists has been a boon for the band as far as Louris is concerned. "I think that's been more intriguing for me than making another record is becoming somewhat of an adaptable studio band," he says. "I'm just very proud of the band. I think that's what interestedd Ray and Wes is they were getting a band, not just four or five different musicians. There's a certain thing that comes with that."

Working with Davies on his new "Americana," due out April 21, was a dream come true for Louris especially. "He was my hero growing up, very early," Louris notes. "I kind of had to pinch myself when I'd be sitting there at the mic singing the harmony to his lead vocal on the verses, thinking, 'Somehow I ended up here? Something went right...' It ws fantastic, and then we went back and did another one already. I don't know when that will come out, but we'll probably play some shows with him. It worked out well."

Stace, meanwhile, is a longtime friend and more of a contemporary, but backing him on his new "Wesley Stace's John Wesley Harding" was equally thrilling, according to Louris. "I admire him so much and love the guy. He really wanted the Jayhawks, and again the band was able to shift into a slightly different gear. I know he's really pleased and thrilled with the way it worked out, and we'll probably do another record with him at some point."

Louris, meanwhile, expects the Jayhawks will make another album but isn't in any rush at the moment. "I've kind of turned that part of the brown off and getting into kind of a nesting situation here (in North Carolina), just taking the axe out, chopping wood, trying to get handy" he says. "I'm trying to set up my studio here and learn how to use some of the software and explore some other areas of music. (New music) will come eventually, but that part of my brain is shut off for now."

The Jayhawks and Wesley Stace

8 p.m. Saturday, April 15.

The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor.

Tickets are sold out.

Call 734-761-1800 or visit theark.org.


Web Site: www.theark.org

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