An Album a Day: #4 Hollywood Town Hall

17 03 2013

The Jayhawks - Hollywood Town HallI got into Alt County in the late 90’s early 2000’s with bands like Giantsand and Lambchop, so this is how I came across The Jayhawks. Although not typically Alt country in their sound, Country Rock would be the more appropriate term, there is some similarity.

This album, originally released in 1992, was the bands 3rd full length album release and their first on the major Def American label.

There is a huge country influence on the album – obviously! – and this provides the band with their bread and butter sound, the harmonised vocals between Mark Olsen and Gary Louris is typical of the way the Jayhawks work. This is evidenced on tracks such as Clouds and Crowded in the Wings.

The album has some hints of later artists like Counting Crows and Hootie and the Blowfish but especially in the case of Counting Crows, The Jayhawks of a much more guitar-centric sound. Olsen and Louris mix the acoustic and electric sounds very nicely and the addition of organ and piano on Two Angels and Martins Song adds a much more rounded sound.

Country Rock can at times, in my opinion of course, come across quite cheesy and repetitive and on this album although tracks are similar there is a lot more depth to the recordings and the musical process. It is quite simply very easy to listen to and no doubt appeals more to a US audience than a European one.

There is nothing wrong with the album and the band are all very accomplished musicians but for me I have to look at what I continually go back to and listen to over and over again, categorically this is not one of those albums. Now whilst I am trying to review things objectively in this blogging process my taste always has to influence me, I have to be glaringly honest otherwise what is the point and ultimately it’s my blog!

Think more “Eagles” of the Hotel California ilk than anything refreshingly new.

Album Score: 7 out of 10

Sleeve Notes/Artwork: 8 out of 10

The album sleeve is very good with some fantastic black and white photos of the band by Andrew Catlin, there is also a nice written piece by Joe Henry which shifts from the norm.

Track Listing:

  1. Waiting for the Sun
  2. Crowded in the Wings
  3. Clouds
  4. Two Angels
  5. Take Me with You (When You Go)
  6. Sister Cry
  7. Settled Down Like Rain
  8. Wichita
  9. Nevada, California
  10. Martin’s Song
  11. Leave No Gold [Bonus track on European CD]

Favourite Track: Crowded in the Wings

Tomorrow’s Review: The Bends – Radiohead

Next Selection: Tuesday Night Music Club – Sheryl Crow

The ‘An Album a Day’  list so far.


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