Smileby The Jayhawks
It comes as somewhat of a surprise to see this notoriously brooding band return to action with an album titled SMILE -- and even more wondrous to find that there's no irony inherent in the name. While the Minneapolis-bred quintet retains shades of the alt-country sound they pioneered in the late '80s and early '90s -- most effectively on the wizened "What Led Me to… See more details below
It comes as somewhat of a surprise to see this notoriously brooding band return to action with an album titled SMILE -- and even more wondrous to find that there's no irony inherent in the name. While the Minneapolis-bred quintet retains shades of the alt-country sound they pioneered in the late '80s and early '90s -- most effectively on the wizened "What Led Me to This Town" -- de facto front man Gary Louris spends a good bit of time shepherding in a more aggressive, more rhythm-based sound. A few tracks, such as the neo-psychedelic "Somewhere in Ohio," engender a retro feel; on others, including the distortion-heavy "Wildest Dreams," the vibe is utterly contemporary. Producer Bob Ezrin (famed for his work with Kiss and Alice Cooper) plays a considerable role in punching up the sound, but he also shows a sensitivity to the Jayhawks' well-entrenched mellow side, allowing the shimmering harmonies of keyboardist Karen Grotberg to waft up through the folksy melody of "A Break in the Clouds." They're a little less kind, a little less gentle, but the Jayhawks have never been more life-affirming than on SMILE.
- Release Date:
- American Recordings
Performance CreditsJayhawks Primary Artist
Bob Ezrin Synthesizer,Percussion,Accordion,Keyboards,Vocals
Kraig Johnson Group Member
Gary Louris Group Member
Tim O'Reagan Group Member
Marc Perlman Group Member
Patrick Seymour Synthesizer
Karen Grotberg Keyboards,Vocals
Eric Heywood Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar
Armadillo String Quartet Strings
Technical CreditsJayhawks Engineer
Ed Ackerson Programming,Engineer
Bob Ezrin Producer,String Arrangements
Jay Healy Engineer
Josh Cheuse Art Direction
David Katzenstein Cover Photo
Leon Zervos Mastering
Joseph Bishara Programming
Jonathan Sacks Orchestration,String Arrangements
Richard Werbowenko Programming
Ev Wollcott Programming
Frank Riley Booking
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This could be CD of the year. It takes a few listens but really begins to grow on you. Every year we rate the top album which we enjoyed listening to the most. Outside of the really poppy ''Im gonna make you love me'', it is a pretty sophisticated effort. I recommended it to a couple of friends that loved the Golden Smog record of last year, and as much as they loved that one admit that this just a better record...but give it a few listens first before you make judgement.
While this is the most polished album the Jayhawks have released, this is a very good thing. With Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel) behind the wheel, the Jayhawks have moved in a different direction with this album. They showed hints of this with ''Sound of Lies,'' another fantastic album, but this one has even more ''bells and whistles.'' I think this album will really surprise power pop enthusiasts, who probably totally overlook the Jayhawks. The electronic drums caught me offguard at the beginning of ''Wildest Dreams,'' but it is one catchy tune. My favorite song would have to be ''Queen of the World,'' which is a pop masterpiece. ''Ohio,'' ''Smile'',''Break in the Clouds''......all great songs. It's a great mix of upbeat pop songs and laid back country-sounding rock. I really think this album deserved more airplay. If only we lived in a perfect world. I play a few of the songs on my online radio station at Live365.com. Search for ''Stung By a Bee.'' Check it out.
I know most critics like the earlier Jayhawks albums like "Hollywood Town Hall" better, but this is the Jayhawks album I like best of all. It does have a bit more of a pop feel to it, and that suits me. It carries me back to my native Midwest...