Gary Louris – Vagabonds

{mosimage}It must feel funny to release your first solo album when you are 52, but once The Jayhawks disbanded after 20 years on the road, singer, songwriter and guitar player Gary Louris decided to step up and release his first solo album. (Actually, I’m writing this review on the singer’s 53rd birthday).

The last time The Jayhawks played in Finland was at Tavastia in 2004. There presented their last album, Rainy Day Music, a mostly acoustic album, that combined the best of traditional American roots music, from The Band to Crosby, Still, Nash & Young to Gram Parsons, spiced up with that characteristic pop sensibility of Louris’ compositions.

In Vagabonds, Gary Louris continues the same path: timeless American music. For producing the album, he recruited long time friend and Black Crowes’ singer Chris Robinson. The result is a laid back album with lots of acoustic guitar, pedal steel and typical songwriting and singing from Louris.

With the input of Chris Robinson, the songs some of the songs are decorated with a touch of psychedelic sounds (especially in I Wanna Get High) and an interesting gospel choir, The Laurel Canyon Family Choir, that includes among others Robinson himself, Jenny Lewis and Susanna Hoffs (yes, the same one of The Bangles).

The title track, Vagabonds, is probably the most outstanding tune. It’s a classic Louris composition as perfect as Blue or Waiting for the Sun can be.

This album might not top The Jayhawks legacy. But that’s not an easy task at all since The Jayhawks’ discography is one of the most perfect a band has made in the last twenty years. Still Vagabonds is beautiful, remarkable and relevant.

Rating 4/5