THE JAYHAWKS Rainy Day Music (Lost Highway/Universal) Rating: NNN; The Blue Earth (Rykodisc) Rating: NNN
The good news is that having been liberated from Sony, the Jayhawks can give up trying to be the new Journey and return to their roots. The bad news is that judging by Rainy Day Music, Gary Louris's country roots don't seem to go any deeper than the Eagles and Poco. However, there is a limited-edition version of the release with a bonus disc that includes six demos and outtakes that are looser, more direct and ultimately better than anything on the album proper. Hopefully, someone will release the rest of the demos the Jayhawks cut with Ed Ackerman in Minneapolis before Ethan Johns got hold of the group. Rykodisc has just reissued the Jayhawks' twangy second album, 89's The Blue Earth - with three previously unavailable bonus tracks - which shows how very little ground they've covered in 14 years. They were the poor man's Blue Rodeo then, and they still are today.