Mark Olson & Gary Louris: Ready For The Flood

Before Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown, there was the Jayhawks.  Yep, the wildly un-appreciated band from Minnesota pre-dates No Depression, widely accepted as the benchmark album for the alt-country genre despite the fact that Mark Olson and Gary Louris were doing it first.  Jayhawks fans lamented the band’s demise in the early 2000s.  However, Louris and Olson have toured together sporadically, and have now put together a new album, Ready For The Flood, that’ll leave any fan of the band more than satisfied.

Produced by the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson (who also contributes harmonica and background vocals to some tracks), Ready for the Flood is a streamlined group of solid songs that may as well have been released as a Jayhawks album because that’s basically how the record plays. It’s got the same stellar delicate vocal harmonies and poignant lyrics about love, life, and heartache.  Wrap it up with stripped down, simple instrumentation, and you’ve got a sure-fire winner for fans of the original act.

From the tender acoustic finger-picking on "Satruday Morning On Sunday Street" and "Black Eyes" to the bluesy electric rocker "Chamberlain, SD," Olson and Louris show their versatility both vocally and instrumentally.