Despite releasing seven studio albums, and a catalogue of truly great alternative country songs, The Jayhawks were never able to move past the cult band status before going on hiatus in 2003. Listening to their just-released anthology â€“ 20 songs culled from all of the bandâ€™s records – itâ€™s a bit surprising that the Minneapolis band never reached rock star status.
The songs are beautifully-crafted, lyrically impressive and stand up over time. The bandâ€™s first two and arguably best efforts, Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass, served a template for every alt country band that came after, from Whiskeytown to The Bottlerockets. Though vocalist Mark Olson left the band in 1995, they added a couple of new members, soldiered on and continued to release three more records, all solid releases, but none as successful as the groupâ€™s debut and follow up.
For those not willing to shell out for every record, Music From the North Country is a fantastic compromise, including the few true radio hits the band had in the early 90â€™s, along with a lot of stellar deep cuts. The deluxe version of the collection also comes with a second CD of 20 B-Sides and rarities, along with a DVD of music videos. The band has reunited for a handful of festivals this year, and hopefully North Country will stir up enough nostalgia for an underrated band that deserved so much more, that the Jayhawks will decide to record another album. If Creed and Sugar Ray are forcing themselves into our lives again, donâ€™t we at least deserve some new Jayhawksâ€™ songs?
Top tracks: â€œBlue,â€ â€œIâ€™d Run Away,â€ â€œMiss Williamsâ€™ Guitarâ€ and â€œSmileâ€
Rating: 9.2 out of 10
The Jayhawks â€“ Music From the North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology (CD)
The Jayhawks â€“ Music From the North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology /CD/2009/20 tracks for standard version, 40 tracks and DVD for Deluxe Version/American and Legacy/www.jayhawksofficial.com