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coverpic flag US - Minnesota - Full Moon 140 - 02/21/08

Gary Louris
Vagabonds
Rykodisc

Gary Louris' first solo album. Great expectations. What to expect? First song off, True Blue, and no surprises. Only the pleasure of hearing that voice and another Louris gem of a tune. Let me reveal to you at once, there are no surprises of sorts on this album. No drum machines or metal-guitars ripping your head off. He has not gone astray from his Jayhawks-path.

For an old fan this is good news. In total it's a set of 10 songs, well crafted, well sung and well performed. I will not claim that Jayhawks would have done this any better or significantly different. But there is less edge to this album as a whole than what has been on the previous Jayhawks-albums. It's sweet and soulful but lacks a song or two that is able to at least stretch the picture.

As the album settles in (together with a bottle of wine or two) I absolutely enjoy to its full songs like "To Die A Happy Man", "She Only Calls Me On Sundays" and "D.C Blues". John Lennon is truly present (in a glorious way) on "Black Grass". Some sweet swamp-blues-meets-The Kinks on "I Wanna Get High" and an intimate farewell in the closer, "Meandering".

Great hearing Louris still in steady shape - which gets me looking forward to the reunion with his old Jayhawk mate, Mark Olson (who released the fabulous Salvation Blues last year).

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