Thursday, March 27th, 2008

True Blue

Photo by Darren Ankenman

If Gary Louris had released Vagabonds under the Jayhawks mantle, no one would have batted an eye. But having essentially retired that outfit – ironically at a time when he was again working with fellow founder Mark Olson (their Ready For The Flood is out this Fall) – that wasn’t an option. And so we have Gary Louris’ first solo record which, hopefully without being too reductive, sounds like a Jayhawks record.

And that’s a good thing. Rather than going the acoustic-y, singer-songwriter route, which he surely would have excelled at as well, he’s turned out a richly-produced, full-band album of roots rock with touches of gospel and soul. It’s definitely powered by Louris’ distinctive electric guitar work but still rarely strays from its mid-tempo groove and treads on familiar ground, both musically and lyrically. That’s alright, though, as Louris has earned the right to move at whatever pace and through whatever terrain he so chooses. And so while it doesn’t offer much in the way of surprises, Vagabonds manages to be quietly and thoughtfully sweeping and with five years gone since the last Jayhawks record, it’s good to have him back.

Louris is doing the press circuit as well as hitting the road, giving interviews to My Old Kentucky Blog, JamBase, eye,, The Phoenix and Exclaim!. And as for the touring, he rolls into Toronto this Sunday for a show at the Mod Club and courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got one pair of passes to give away to the show. If you want, email me at contests AT with “I promise not to shout out too many Jayhawks requests” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes tonight (March 27) at midnight.

You can stream the whole of Vagabonds on Gary’s MySpace.

MySpace: Gary Louris

A couple of veteran acts coming to town – Crowded House have booked a two-night stand at the Danforth Music Hall on May 6 and 7, while Emmylou Harris will be at Massey Hall on June 16.

And not veteran in the least, UK punk, rock and soul outfit The Heavy are going to be at Lee’s Palace on May 10. I’ve heard some good things about these guys. Anyone want to endorse or decry?

MP3: The Heavy – “Colleen”
Video: The Heavy – “That Kind Of Man”
MySpace: The Heavy

M.I.A. returns for a show at the Sound Academy on June 2.

Reveille chats with Headlights.

Amy Millan relates the story of Stars to Cleveland Scene while Torq Campbell gives The AV Club a look at his iPod.

Daytrotter ponies up a session with A Place To Bury Strangers.

Exclaim! talks to The Coast, who release their debut Expatriate in Canada on April 1 but not until August 19 in the US. They’re playing a record release show at the Horseshoe on April 18.

The D’Urbervilles tell JAM! they’re not a Toronto band. They will still play here, however, as they intend to on May 1 at the UKULA store as part of the Over The Top Fest.

By : Frank Yang at 8:32 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Steve McGill says:

    Thank you Frank for making my week with the M.I.A. news

  2. Frank says:

    spoken like someone who’s never been to the Sound Academy (nee Docks)…

    but enjoy the show. really.

  3. Scott says:

    LOL! I was excited until I hit the "Sound Academy" part, too…

    Though I went to my first smaller show there this year (I swore I’d never go back, but a friend got on the guestlist – and free is free [smirk])… and it was significantly better. They close off the entire front half and just had the back bar area open… that’s where the show happened (Aesop Rock) and it was actually a pretty good venue at that size…

  4. J. Mascarenhas says:

    The Heavy are the real deal…i think you are going to love them live Frank…