Although the stalwart alt.-country band The Jayhawks, led by the gifted songwriting combo of Gary Louris and Mark Olson, made a splash with its 1992 major label debut "Hollywood Town Hall," that album turned out to be merely an appetizer for the band's finest studio release, 1995's "Tomorrow The Green Grass."
Produced by George Drakoulias and featuring a fuller and more nuanced sound thanks to the addition of Karen Grotberg on keyboards, the 13 tracks on "Tomorrow The Green Grass" showcased the band's unique pop-driven approach to roots rock music and cemented The Jayhawks lofty position near the top of the alt.-country scene.
The best just got better with the new Legacy Edition reissue of this classic, which includes a pristine remastered sound; five bonus tracks, three of which are previously unreleased, and the real treat of the 2-disc set, 18 Olson and Louris acoustic recordings from 1992 released for the first time as "The Mystery Demos."
"The Mystery Demos" bonus disc affords fans a rare glimpse at the Louris/Olson collaborative process and feature stripped down embryonic versions of songs from "Tomorrow The Green Grass," as well as future solo efforts and side projects. The demos, which were recorded at separate sessions in Minneapolis and Los Angeles, shine in their simplicity with Olson and Louris' considerable songwriting talents and vocal harmonies stealing the show.
High points include a bare-bones version of Over My Shoulder that accentuates the song's Simon and Garfunkel qualities; a sunny and violin-aided Won't Be Coming Home, a song that would eventually be recorded by Louris' side project Golden Smog, and Blue From Now On (take 2), the original version of the band's hit Blue.
In and of itself, "The Mystery Demos" is a must-have for diehard fans of The Jayhawks, but when you combine it with a fully-remastered "Tomorrow The Green Grass" including five bonus tracks, you also have an amazing set that is the perfect introduction for people just discovering the band.