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Gary Louris and Mark Olson

Ready for the Flood – 2009 (New West)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Gary Louris and Mark Olson

Mark Olson and Gary Louris were once primary songwriters in The Jayhawks. Olson could be cryptic lyrically, whereas Louris was usually more straightforward with a vocal style that could bring tears to your eyes - even though his words sometimes didn't make much linear sense either. This is the first official recorded pairing of Olson and Louris outside The Jayhawks, although they've recorded together a bit since their Jayhawks heyday.

And while The Jayhawks were never a particularly loud band, this comes off especially quiet most the time. Producer Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes) gives us a primarily acoustic offering. Nevertheless, it's still easy to imagine The Jayhawks investing their familiar empathy into Turn Your Pretty Name Around, even sans the louder sonic. Its lyric makes you want to reach right through the CD player and give that poor girl a hug. The general hush brakes momentarily with Chamberlain, SD, as blues electric guitars get up to 11. More striking, however, and in a subdued sort of way, is the English folk guitar lines coloring Saturday Morning On Sunday Street. Thus, overall aural softness makes "Ready for the Flood" a quiet reunion, not a loud get-together.