By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
A song like "Two Hearts" (in which Olsen and Louris are finally reduced to chanting a desperate chorus of "I-yi-yi-I'm lonely") or "Nothing Left to Borrow" are almost orchestrated, their simple melodies fleshed out until they become emotion. By the time both songs end, it's like they've given up--too sad to go on, too tired to make it any further. ("Nothing Left" merely ends with the repeated chorus, "Couldn't you stick around?")
But then, from nowhere, the album ends with the rocker "Ten Little Kids"--a song that's so simple where the others are like dense short stories, one that gallops where the others lope.
"I've liked a lot of music," Louris says. "I've gone through a lot of phases, whether it's art-rock or just rock or power-pop or whatever. I listen to a lot of different stuff, but I think folk music tends to have a little more of a grounding that's hard to describe other than it's soulful and it goes a little deeper; it's a little less trivial. Of course, you're talking about the good folk music.
"Bad folk music is like bad country music--two of the worst kinds of music. Bad country and bad folk are worse than bad rock, I think. But the best folk and the best country are the greatest music there is. You really have to search it out."
The Jayhawks open for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers April 22 at the Starplex Amphitheatre.