Rainy Day Music

Rainy Day Music

4.4 5
by The Jayhawks

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The seventh album from Minneapolis alt-country pioneers the Jayhawks marks their ongoing evolution, as they pepper their heartland rock with folk- and psychedelic-rock flourishes. After the band had reached a creative peak in the mid-'90s with Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the…  See more details below


The seventh album from Minneapolis alt-country pioneers the Jayhawks marks their ongoing evolution, as they pepper their heartland rock with folk- and psychedelic-rock flourishes. After the band had reached a creative peak in the mid-'90s with Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass, founding member Mark Olson departed, and the Jayhawks struggled to recapture the splendor of their finely stitched songcraft and lush harmonies. Rainy Day Music, their seventh album, at last rekindles the old flame. Front-loaded with the Byrdsian jangle of "Stumbling Through the Dark," co-written by lead 'Hawk Gary Louris and Matthew Sweet and accented by winsome banjo picking, the album soars from the get-go. Louris's melodies only get stronger, as on the buoyant "Tailspin," which juxtaposes an electric guitar lead with pedal steel on its break, and "All the Right Reasons," one of two songs (the other being "Madman") to evoke the wistful harmonies of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (both tunes, not so coincidentally, feature vocals from Chris Stills, Stephen's son). The downcast "Save It for a Rainy Day" suggests the chiming psychedelia of Love, and the heartache reminiscence "The Eyes of Sarah Jane" is charged with a shower of Hammond B-3 and Rickenbacker guitars that recalls the Byrds and R.E.M. From there, the momentum dips a bit, as Louris makes room for two songs from bandmate Tim O'Reagan, including the strings-backed "Don't Let the World Get in Your Way," which gently channels the melancholy side of John Lennon and Elton John, and one from Marc Perlman, the mournful, prayerlike "Will I See You in Heaven." However, the sophistication of Louris's songs -- such as the sweet "Angelyne" -- remains the Jayhawks' trump card, and it gives Rainy Day Music its timeless appeal.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Zac Johnson
The Jayhawks' seventh album backs away from their "super-pop" releases like Smile and the underrated Sound of Lies and looks back to their earlier, rootsier sound. The band has whittled itself down again following the departures of keyboardist Jen Gunderman and longtime guitarist Kraig Johnson, leaving behind core songwriter and vocalist Gary Louris, founding member Marc Perlman on bass, and longtime drummer Tim O'Reagan assisted by newcomer Stephen McCarthy on guitar. Produced by Ethan Johns (and overseen by Rick Rubin), Rainy Day Music goes back even further than the band's first albums, channeling the ghosts of the Byrds, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Buffalo Springfield, and interpreting their '60s folk jangle and lazy, sunny harmonies through the Jayhawks' own sweetly awkward formula. "Madman," in particular, gives the listener a sense of Déjà Vu, sounding like a long lost CSNY demo, and the chiming Rickenbacker 12-string guitar of the leadoff track, "Stumbling Through the Dark," could've been lifted right from the master tapes of "Mr. Tambourine Man." The first six tracks are all vintage Louris gems -- trembling and honest, with warm melodies and hooks for days. Unfortunately, the album stumbles in the second half with the inclusion of two O' Reagan compositions (which try too hard to evoke John Lennon's world-weary mumble and Bob Dylan's nasal whine), and an unsuccessful stab at heartland gospel on "Come to the River." Although the summertime love song "Angelyne" and the waltzing "Will I See You in Heaven" provide bright spots near the end, the album never fully recovers. This is a real shame, since the whole affair starts so strong, and it seems as though if side B could've been trimmed by about four songs (and 15 minutes), Rainy Day Music would stand alongside their strongest albums. Still, fans who complained that their last two albums were "too poppy" or "not rootsy enough" should be pleased with this direction, and it's certainly an album that gets better with each listen, so it may yet prove to be worth its weight in acoustic gold.
Rolling Stone - Pat Blashill
Few groups are more seductive or unapologetic than the Jayhawks.
Entertainment Weekly - Will Hermes
Folk-rock laced with banjos, accordions, and pedal steel, Music is the roots move one suspects fans have wanted for years, its classic rock flavor echoing the Byrds, CSNY, and Poco. (B+)

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Product Details

Release Date:
Lost Highway


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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jayhawks   Primary Artist
Matthew Sweet   Vocals
Jakob Dylan   Vocals
Ethan Johns   Dulcimer,Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Drums,Electric Guitar,Harmonium,chamberlain,Pump Organ,Guitar Loops
Bernie Leadon   Banjo
Gary Louris   Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Steve McCarthy   Banjo,Guitar,Pedal Steel Guitar,Vocals,Lap Steel Guitar
Tim O'Reagan   Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Conga,Drums,Vocals
Marc Perlman   Bass,Guitar,Mandolin,Drums
Chris Stills   Percussion,Vocals
Richard Causon   Piano,Accordion,Harmonium,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,chamberlain

Technical Credits

Matthew Sweet   Composer
Ed Ackerson   Engineer
Richard Dodd   Mastering
Ethan Johns   Producer,Engineer
Gary Louris   Composer,Art Direction
Tim O'Reagan   Composer
Marc Perlman   Composer
Rick Rubin   Executive Producer,Art Direction
Harry Callahan   Cover Photo

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Customer Reviews

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Rainy Day Music 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On first listen, you're happy to hear this Jayhawks' cd sounds more like Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass than recent releases. But on second listen you're disappointed that Rainy Day Music fails to live up to the high standards set by TTGG and HTH. This is a decent cd, but compared to early 90's Jayhawks' music, it falls short.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's great to hear some of the "old" Jayhawks sound in this album. This album is definately a throwback to Hollywood Town Hall, but it lacks the energy that HTH encapsulated. Overall this album deserves a listen or two or thousands. I'm sure it will be in rotation in my cd player for quite some time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
FRESH, FUN, CSN&Y in a blender with Simon & Garfinkel..Great vocal blend...the 60's are back with some 70's kinda vibe...the college kids love these guys. Gram Parsons before the nudie suits! I think BERKLEYHART from SAN DIEGO should open this show..... the JAWHAWKS would be fans! buy these cd's from both artists you will be pleased!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
There's no doubt about it, these selections lack the energy of previous albums, but get the hint...the title of the CD is "Rainy Day Music". This album is full of sad, melancholy music, and somewhat thoughtful. Reminds me of the days that everything was boring and mundane, but you get throught the it anyway. The blend of their voices is definitely retro 70s, easy, simple acoustic guitar and rhythm. Sit back and remenisce...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Listening to this album, not once, twice, but at least three times, one really gains an appreciation is work as a gem. Similar in sound and feeling to Simon and Garfunkel's albums of the '60's, the songs fit together as well as the group's voices. One of the best albums I have bought in years.