Gary Louris admits that he’s not normally a fan of musical reunions.
“(For) most people I would say, ‘Bad idea, don’t do it,”’ the singer-songwriter said. “Don’t get back together, because it’s not going to be the same, and you’re a nostalgia act.”
But Louris is confident that his repairing with old Jayhawks’ partner Mark Olson for the upcoming album “Ready for the Flood,” their first musical collaboration on record in more than a decade, is an exception.
“We’re kind of unusual, we’ve always been,” Louris told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “Hopefully we’ll just break the mold. We’ll show how maybe when sometimes people get back together, they can make music that’s as good (or better than) they did in the past, and it’s not a shadow of what it was, just to make money.”
Both Louris and Olson have distinguished themselves for solo work and collaborations with others. But their partnership in the Jayhawks, while never a great commercial success, created a seminal sound that helped define the alt-country movement.
Ten years after the Jayhawks formed in 1985, Olson quit, forcing Louris to remake the band without the voice of its co-leader. The group finally disbanded a few years ago — and so far, Louris and Olson just plan to record as themselves.
While the pair rekindled their friendship and even went on tour together in 2005, they didn’t really start making music together until last year. When they did, Louris said, it was as if they had never stopped.
“It was pretty incredible because there’s definitely some kind of chemistry between us musically that just seems to pick up wherever it left off. It just didn’t feel like we hadn’t worked together,” he said.
Still, the pair felt they needed some help in getting the project off the ground. For that, they called in Black Crowes lead singer Chris Robinson, an old friend of both, to act as producer.
“We needed a friend who we trusted musically to sit with us, that who we both knew was a fan of both of us, independently and together, and would respect both of us equally and would not lean toward one guy or the other,” he said. “Chris was the guy, Chris would bring positivity ... He just kind of coordinated the whole thing.”
“I’m willing to play it more by Mark’s rules now, and let’s do this on a small level and get from it what we get now instead of doing everything and hoping that it will pay off in the future bigger,” he said. “We’re just going to work in a more small, humble way, and just build it up from there.”
“Ready for the Flood” is slated for a September release.