The Jayhawks perform live in The Current studio

Gary Louris performs with the Jayhawks live in The Current studio.
Gary Louris performs with the Jayhawks live in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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The Jayhawks in The Current Studio
| 25:49
Violinist Jessey Green warms up as the Jayhawks' Gary Louris, Jon Jackson and Marc Perlman chat in The Current studio.
Violinist Jessey Green warms up as the Jayhawks' Gary Louris, Jon Jackson and Marc Perlman chat in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

Gary Louris isn't worried about writing new music right now. "We're celebrating the reissues," Louris says. "Nothing more."

Gary Louris, Marc Perlman and John Jackson of the Jayhawks in The Current studio.
Gary Louris, Marc Perlman and John Jackson of the Jayhawks in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

It turns out "nothing more" is plenty. The Jayhawks — comprising Louris (vocals/guitar), Karen Grotberg (keyboards), Tim O'Reagan (drums/vocals), Marc Perlman (bass), Kraig Johnson (guitar) and Jessy Greene (violin) — have reissued three albums, Sound of Lies (1997), Smile (2000) and Rainy Day Music (2003), and they're playing three consecutive nights of shows in the Twin Cities, starting with a sold-out gig tonight at the Turf Club in St. Paul before moving to First Avenue in Minneapolis on Friday and Saturday.

The Jayhawks' Gary Louris and Karen Grotberg in The Current studio.
The Jayhawks' Gary Louris and Karen Grotberg in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

Despite the busy schedule, the Jayhawks spent the better part of an afternoon in The Current's studio, playing songs and catching up with host Mary Lucia.

Gary Louris tunes his guitar before performing live in The Current studio with the Jayhawks.
Gary Louris tunes his guitar before performing live in The Current studio with the Jayhawks. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

Louris shares some of his songwriting insights, including his mystification at having such an easy time at writing bridges — often the bane of songwriters. He also describes what it was like to work with storied producer Rick Rubin, and whether he prefers daytime festival gigs or nighttime club shows.

Pianist Karen Grotberg performing live in The Current studio with the Jayhawks.
Pianist Karen Grotberg performing live in The Current studio with the Jayhawks. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

The Jayhawks play a total of four songs, including the one Mary told the Star Tribune's Chris Riemenschneider is her favorite. As an added bonus, Louris plays a generous chunk of the first song he ever wrote, a tune called "Weekend Girls."

Gary Louris hangs out before performing live in The Current studio with the Jayhawks.
Gary Louris hangs out before performing live in The Current studio with the Jayhawks. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

Listen to the complete session to hear all of this and ["nothing"] more.

Violinist Jessy Green performing with the Jayhawks live in The Current studio.
Violinist Jessy Green performing with the Jayhawks live in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

Songs Performed


"The Man Who Loved Life"
"Queen of the World"
"Stumbling Through The Dark"
"Tailspin"
The first song is off the Jayhawks' Sound of Lies album, originally released in 1997; the second song if off Smile, originally released in 2000; and the third and fourth songs are off Rainy Day Music from 2003. All have been re-released on American Recordings.

Kraig Johnson performing live in The Current studio with the Jayhawks.
Kraig Johnson performing live in The Current studio with the Jayhawks. (MPR / Nate Ryan)

Hosted by Mary Lucia
Produced by Jade
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Web feature by Luke Taylor

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