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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Music from the North Country: Jayhawks Anthology'
Artist - The Jayhawks

This collection pulls the highlights from six of The Jayhawks albums. As a long time fan, I've already got all of these songs, but there is a great three disc set with one disc of rarities and a DVD of videos and a short performance for long time fans. I wrote this review for people not familiar with The Jayhawks.

The Jayhawks sound like a 90s version of late 60s Byrds, with some Crosby, Stills and Nash thrown in. Their sound gets tagged as alternative country, but have a lot of folk-rock in their sound. Gary Louris is a unsung guitarist with a unique sound. The harmonies of Mark Olson (who left in 1995 and is gone for tracks 11-20 on the CD) and Louris mix to sound as one. The first ten tracks are marvels of country-rock, folk-rock - whatever you want to call it, it's great music. If you like this, download "Tomorrow the Green Grass" and "Hollywood Town Hall." Both have great songs not included on this disc.

After Olson left, the band became experimental. "Sound of Lies" had some psychedelic touches and "Smile" had the band going pop. "Rainy Day Music" was a throwback to their earlier sound and is also a great record. But for a Jayhawks primer or shoulda-been hits collection, you can't beat this single disc collection.

I discovered them back when I was working in a little AM station in southern WV right out of high school. The station was throwing away CD singles, two of which were "Blue" and "Bad Time," by The Jayhawks. I took them home, popped in the CD player, and have been a big fan ever since.

Fans can quibble about what isn't here - I would have picked "Two Hearts" over "Miss Williams' Guitar" from Tomorrow the Green Grass and "Think About It" over "Big Star" from the Sound of Lies album (which is also a great song.) I'm glad the band is finally getting their due, and I hope more people pay attention this time around. The best news I've heard lately is that the mid-90s lineup is reforming for a few shows. I liked the Olson and Louris record earlier this year, but I would love to have a new Jayhawks album.

Still, for those curious or those who've heard a song or two, this is a great introduction to one of the finest bands from the 90s.

Mark B.