I saw the original Jayhawks lineup only once, on July 16, 1995, on a beautiful yet scorching hot day at the Cincinnati Zoo. Wilco opened, but it was The Jayhawks who put on a truly memorable show. Not knowing that the beautiful songwriting and harmonies of Louris and Olson would part in less than a year, I stood in awe at one of the greatest writing and singing tandems of the past twenty years. I went on to see The Jayhawks sans Olson many times thereafter (see picture below from SXSW 2000), and as good as they were, and they were very good, they were never the same without Olson.
A few years ago, there was word that they may start writing together again. The rumors were followed by a few shows together. And then came word of Ready for the Flood. Although the remaining stapes of The Jayhawks (Marc Perlman & Tim O'Reagan) are not on hand, it's a thrill to see the two together again. There are certain artists that seem to thrive alongside another, and although they've produced solid work apart, Mark Olson and Gary Louris have always seemed best served together. On Jan 27 we'll see if the magic's still there after 13 years apart.
Olson And Louris - Ready For The Flood - EPK from New West Records on Vimeo.