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Review: Strong set from reunited Jayhawks

The Jayhawks, "Mockingbird Time" (Rounder)
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Jayhawks, "Mockingbird Time" (Rounder)

The past tugs at the Jayhawks on "Mockingbird Time," perhaps because it's the first full-band studio release since 1995 to feature both founding members, Gary Louris and Mark Olson.

The reunited quintet reflects and reminisces. "Childhood washed away ... where did it go?" Louris and Olson ask on "Tiny Arrows." Not that the two songwriters have been apart that long — they recorded an album as an acoustic duo in 2008.

This time they plug in to draw from the Jayhawks' familiar musical palette. Their love of the 1960s remains strong, with druggy instrumental breaks and frequent aural nods to the Byrds ("She Walks In So Many Ways") and Buffalo Springfield ("Tiny Arrows," "Black-Eyed Susan"). Whether the band's rocking out or turning twangy, soulful melodies linger.

While Louris and Olson mostly sing in harmony, the album is dominated by moments of solitude, with the outdoors the sole companion. The passage of the years is measured via affectionate references to rain, wind, grass, sky, clouds, lightning, sunshine, rivers, hills, desert and songbirds — "Mockingbird Time."

One conclusion reached is that it's good to reconnect with old friends. This album allows fans of the Jayhawks to do just that.

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: "Hey Mr. Man" is Henry David Thoreau with power chords.