The Jayhawks - Mockingbird Time
Love it when the old pros stretch out, crack their knuckles and cheerily set about the whippersnappers. Your Americana? This lot invented it. Forget reference points: we're talking epochal. If you know what this is, if you know anything about this historic release, chances are you've laid the green ones down already. The Jayhawks are back and how: songwriters and co-vocalists Mark Olsen and Gary Louris reunited for the first time in 15 years.
Mockingbird Time scoffs at the challenge thrown down by a burgeoning scene. Is this reunion the equal of 1995's seminal Tomorrow The Green Grass? Only time will tell, and time is the key here. Give this the cursory once-over and you lose. Repeated plays deliver the richest reward. The raggle taggle orchestration, a salutory mix of guitars, piano, strings, is beyond doubt, as are the meant-to-be harmonies of Olsen and Louris. But where Mockingbird Time really stakes its claims is with a rock solid set of tunes. Middle age comfort be damned. The Jayhawks are reaching for the stars like just-signed hungry pups. Campfire jangle ('Tiny Arrows') or upbeat full on band (the vibrant 'Hide Your Colors' and 'She Walks In So Many Ways', with its nod to Crowded House), both approaches serve them well. Best of all is the pumping 'Her Mr Man' over which, I kid you not, you can sing ABBA's 'Mamma Mia'. Uplifting even when it's plaintive and sorrowful, this is a blinding return. More please.