When: Thu., Jan. 27, 8 p.m. and Fri., Jan. 28, 8 p.m. 2011
1/28 sold out; 18+.
JAYHAWKS It's been more than 15 years since singer-guitarist Mark Olson left the Jayhawks, the Minneapolis alt-country act he cofounded with singer-guitarist Gary Louris, but lately it seems the two of them have realized they do their best work together. They've been playing shows again for a few years, and in 2009 they released a duo record, Ready for the Flood (New West); the classic Jayhawks lineup has also returned to the studio, and will release a new album later this year. The band managed to make decent music after Olson's departure, even without the gorgeous vocal harmonies he and Louris created, but that trademark sound will be front and center at these shows celebrating the new Sony Legacy reissues of the Jayhawks' two greatest albums: 1992's Hollywood Town Hall and 1995's Tomorrow the Green Grass. The band pushed past the Flying Burrito Brothers/Byrds template of their midcareer records on Hollywood, going for something more rocking, and though their decision to admit the perfectionism of a producer like George Drakoulias into the process was odd for an alt-rock band of that era—they even went so far as to replace original drummer Ken Callahan with a session musician for the recording—the results are magnificent. Tomorrow, its follow-up, is even more full and lush: subtle strings, the addition of keyboard player Karen Grotberg, and some of Louris's most exciting guitar playing help create a denser sound. The band will play the entirety of Hollywood Town Hall tonight and Tomorrow the Green Grass tomorrow, and both shows will include a selection of songs from throughout the Jayhawks' history. This engagement is part of a five-city North American tour, and the band features Olson, Louris, Grotberg, original bassist Marc Perlman, and drummer Tim O'Reagan.