When Mark Olson left the Jayhawks in 1995, he gave his partner, Gary Louris, his blessing to continue on with the band and brand without him. The Olson-less version released three albums but never captured the spirit of camaraderie and elusive harmonies that defined its prime. Mockingbird Time
, the Jayhawks' full-reunion album from this year, fares better than most reanimations of the departed. It's lifted by soul-focused orchestrations and those amazing vocal rounds, now beautifully quadrupled, with the full integration of pianist Karen Grotberg and drummer Tim O'Reagan into songs of enduring innocence and treasured experience.
What To Expect: The Jayhawks reunion isn't a nostalgia trip — the new material is that good — but with a twenty-song, career-spanning set list, you'll be reminded how blissed out Americana pop can get.