The Jayhawks – Blue Earth

Second album (1989) from alt.country trailblazers, with three bonus tracks

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Less austere than the template offered by Uncle Tupelo’s No Depression a year later, The Jayhawks were a simpler, more open-hearted revival of Gram Parsons’ spirit. Mark Olson’s rich, almost wryly yearning voice almost cracks into open laughter on “Martin’s Song”, the nearest he gets in phrasing and lyric leaps to fellow Minnesotan Dylan at his most easygoing. The relaxed power of The Jayhawks’ playing suits Olson’s world of small-town, languorous hedonism (in comparison to the small-town claustrophobia of Tupelo’s Jay Farrar). “Two Angels”, though, has Townes Van Zandt’s true country mystery, too.

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