Thursday, March 27th, 2008
Photo by Darren Ankenman
If Gary Louris had released Vagabonds under the Jayhawks mantle, no one would have batted an eye. But having essentially retired that outfit – ironically at a time when he was again working with fellow founder Mark Olson (their Ready For The Flood is out this Fall) – that wasn’t an option. And so we have Gary Louris’ first solo record which, hopefully without being too reductive, sounds like a Jayhawks record.
And that’s a good thing. Rather than going the acoustic-y, singer-songwriter route, which he surely would have excelled at as well, he’s turned out a richly-produced, full-band album of roots rock with touches of gospel and soul. It’s definitely powered by Louris’ distinctive electric guitar work but still rarely strays from its mid-tempo groove and treads on familiar ground, both musically and lyrically. That’s alright, though, as Louris has earned the right to move at whatever pace and through whatever terrain he so chooses. And so while it doesn’t offer much in the way of surprises, Vagabonds manages to be quietly and thoughtfully sweeping and with five years gone since the last Jayhawks record, it’s good to have him back.
Louris is doing the press circuit as well as hitting the road, giving interviews to My Old Kentucky Blog, JamBase, eye, TwinCities.com, The Phoenix and Exclaim!. And as for the touring, he rolls into Toronto this Sunday for a show at the Mod Club and courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got one pair of passes to give away to the show. If you want, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I promise not to shout out too many Jayhawks requests” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes tonight (March 27) at midnight.
You can stream the whole of Vagabonds on Gary’s MySpace.
MySpace: Gary Louris
And not veteran in the least, UK punk, rock and soul outfit The Heavy are going to be at Lee’s Palace on May 10. I’ve heard some good things about these guys. Anyone want to endorse or decry?
M.I.A. returns for a show at the Sound Academy on June 2.