Umbrella not necessary

Rainy Day Music (Lost Highway)
The Jayhawks

By Kevin Gibson

For a long time I thought of the Jayhawks as jangle for jangle's sake. I didn't get it. Liked it when I heard it, but it didn't capture my attention or my soul. Everyone else got it - maybe it was just me. I just ... didn't ... get it.

Then I heard Rainy Day Music.

Did the Jayhawks do something differently? Or is it me? I even saw the 'Hawks back in the late 1990s and it didn't push me over the edge. But it only took me about one minute of "Tailspin," track two of this new album, to know that this is one great band. "You're a fragile flower/In its final hour/With no chance to taste the waters." Hell yeah.

The first half of Rainy Day Music is nearly incomparable. Yes, it does weaken over the final six or seven tracks, but no band could keep up such a pace. And if "Tailspin" is a near-perfect alt-country tune, then even the band that wrote and recorded it can't hope to match it over the course of a 14-song album (19 if you're lucky enough to have the bonus CD version).

Then there's "Eyes of Sarahjane," about lost happiness. And "One Man's Problem" about a lost love. And "Save it For a Rainy Day" about lost innocence. All great tunes.

So how did I miss this before? Or is this something new? Because these Jayhawks have recorded the perfect blend of folk, pop, country and rock in one album. It's sincere without being sentimental, accessible without being dumbed down. It's yours. It's mine.

Forget what I say. Just get a copy of this. If you didn't get it before, like me, I have to say there's a darn good chance you might get it now. I wish I hadn't waited so long.