At a time when everyone from Collective Soul to Spacehog was able to garner a ridiculous amount of radio and MTV airplay for so little talent, just by tacking the suffix “alternative” onto their press materials, a band that truly defined “alternative” – The Jayhawks – never really got their rock star moment.
The third album, Hollywood Town Hall, and it’s follow up, Tomorrow The Green Grass, both did deservedly well with critics, but the song to get a decent amount of play was “Blue” off of TTGG, and even that one didn’t stick around too long. Despite a fickle record-buying public and remarkably tone deaf radio programmers, these first two albums remain alternative country classics almost two decades later. Strong acoustic guitars, confident vocals and harmonies and beautiful lyrics remain hallmarks of The Jayhawks.
The Legacy and American labels have just co-released expanded versions of each album hopefully giving more a chance to finally discover just how underrated this band was at the time. Hollywood Town Hall has five additional tracks tacked onto the record (most have never been available in the U.S. before now). The songs complement the original release well. But, it’s the Tomorrow the Green Grass offering that is going to be hard for many to pass up – even if you already own the original. The Legacy Edition includes five additional songs as well as an additional 18 track CD dubbed The Mystery Demos.
The Jayhawks may never have been fully appreciated when they first stepped out of the crowded Minneapolis rock scene, but hopefully these reissues will finally give the band a wider audience.
The Jayhawks – Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow The Green Grass/American and Legacy/2011