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The Jayhawks

Minneapolis roots-rockers The Jayhawks have been quietly making heartfelt music since the mid-'80s, long before alt-country was a national obsession. From their early releases to classics like Hollywood Town Hall and '95's Tomorrow the Green Grass, which yielded the single "Blue" (with Gary Louris and Mark Olson's Burrito Brothers-style harmonies making the song an instant classic), The Jayhawks always seemed to be on the verge of exploding. But instead, they imploded: Co-songwriter Olson left and became a "Creekdipper" with his wife, Victoria Williams, and longtime keyboardist Karen Grotberg left to pursue motherhood (she was replaced by Raleigh's own Jen Gunderman of DAG). With Louris taking over as the band's primary songwriter/frontman, The Jayhawks went forward, with original member Marc Perlman, drummer Tim O'Reagan and Kraig Johnson (Run Westy Run). Their sixth album, Smile, found the band exploring new directions and sounds, courtesy of mega-producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper). Definitely a don't-miss show, The Jayhawks pull into the Cat's Cradle this Monday, Jan. 14.

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