The Jayhawks

The Jayhawks (10:00 PM)

Piers Faccini (9:00 PM)

Tue, October 4, 2011

8:00 pm


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This event is all ages

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The Jayhawks - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
The Jayhawks
The Jayhawks were definitely swimming against the tide when they emerged from a crowded Minneapolis music scene halfway through the 1980s - a memorable decade that saw the likes of the Replacements, Soul Asylum, Husker Du and Prince put Minnesota on the musical map in a big way. Forging a rootsy sound that wasn't quite rock or country - "Hank Williams on speed" somebody once memorably called it - The Jayhawks quickly turned into one of the most important bands of the post-punk era. Over the course of two decades, several albums, countless memorable live shows and enough personal drama to fill a couple of Behind the Music episodes, this beloved band soared to heights few ever achieve while wining the hearts and minds of numerous critics, fans and peers in the process. Named after "The Hawks" - as in "Levon and the Hawks," the name of Dylan's backing band in the 60s before they became known as "The Band" - The Jayhawks and their fellow travelers even helped make the world safe again for artists who weren't afraid to fuse traditional rock, country and folk influences into something that was both timeless and modern, just like the best American bands always have.

Formed by Mark Olson, Gary Louris, Marc Perlman and Norm Rogers in early 1985, The Jayhawks original members all came from a variety of Minneapolis bands toiling away in the hyperactive local club scene at the time. Prolific and highly motivated, the band amassed a staggering number of original songs in a very short time, culminating with a self-released eponymous debut album in 1986. After a tumultuous period that found the band actively seeking a recording contract, The Jayhawks finally landed with Twin/Tone Records, the seminal Minneapolis indie label that released early records by the Replacements and Soul Asylum. Blue Earth, released in 1989, was a quantum leap forward from the first album and garnered widespread positive reviews. It also caught the ear of Def American producer/A&R rep George Drakoulias, who legendarily heard Blue Earth playing in the background during a call to the Twin/Tone offices.

Drakoulias' interest eventually led to a contract with Def American and the release of the band's two best known albums, Hollywood Town Hall (1992) and Tomorrow the Green Grass (1995). Supplemented by new members Karen Grotberg on keyboards and drummer/vocalist Tim O'Reagan, the Jayhawks toured steadily during this time and developed a solid reputation as an ace live band and a force to be reckoned with in the burgeoning "Americana" scene, an association the band has always viewed with mixed feelings. During this "golden age," it seemed that The Jayhawks were always a break or two away from major stardom; their potential was as limitless as the pile of classic songs they were cranking out apparently at will.

Frustrated by the major label rat race, founding member Mark Olson suddenly quit the band in late 1995, shocking fans and fellow band members alike. Olson packed up and headed to the Mojave Desert with his new wife, singer Victoria Williams, to embark on a solo career unencumbered by the restrictions inherent to the corporate music business. Louris and the rest of the band laid low for a while and then surprised nearly everyone by continuing on without Olson while keeping the band name. Augmented by Kraig Johnson (Run Westy Run) and Jessy Greene (Geraldine Fibbers), and paying little heed to their previous playbook, The Jayhawks released Sound of Lies in 1997, a dark, moody modern pop masterpiece that evoked fond memories of everything from Big Star to The Beatles.

To prove that they really had wiped the old slate clean, the band enlisted flamboyant uber-producer Bob Ezrin for their next album, Smile (2000). Teeming with an adventurous spirit and some of the best songs Louris had written to date, Smile boldly charted new territory for the band (even incorporating drum machines into a Technicolor soundscape that included everything from hard rock to psychedelia), effectively providing a clean break with their supposed traditional roots. Many long time fans were befuddled but the New York Times called Smile "a classic." The band's live shows during this period (with Jen Gunderman replacing Grotberg, who left to raise a family) found the band at the top of their game, with shows routinely running over 2 hours and featuring a healthy dose of Olson-era material, pleasing new and old fans alike.

After a revelatory acoustic tour in 2003 with the core trio of Louris, Perlman and O'Reagan, the next chapter in The Jayhawks Saga found them retrenching somewhat to the "classic" sound of their earlier albums. Sparingly produced by Ethan Johns, Rainy Day Music was chock full of catchy songs that tied together sounds and influences from every chapter of the band's career. The band - now reduced to a trio with the addition of touring member Stephen McCarthy, a veteran roots rocker and guitar slinger - mounted the heaviest touring schedule and promotional blitz of their career, resulting in their highest charting album ever.

Sadly, the momentum couldn't be sustained and one of the most exciting American bands in recent history quietly went on hiatus in 2004. The ensuing years found Louris, Perlman and O'Reagan embarking on a variety of projects; all three have released solo albums in recent years. Louris also kept busy with numerous songwriting collaborations, production work, soundtracks and even the revival of longtime side-project, Golden Smog, a proverbial "supergroup" featuring members of Soul Asylum and Big Star, as well as Jayhawkers Perlman and Johnson. Significantly, after years of estrangement, Olson and Louris finally reunited for a couple of well-received tours, followed by Ready For the Flood in 2009, their first full length studio project together in 15 years.

Even though the door to the future was never officially closed, long time fans were still surprised - and overjoyed - with the news in 2008 that the Tomorrow the Green Grass-era lineup of the band with Mark Olson would be reuniting for some summer festival shows in Europe. The good news kept on coming in 2009 with more reunion shows and the release of the band's first retrospective, The Jayhawks Anthology, a multi-disc collection personally supervised by Louris that featured key tracks from all phases of the bands career, a disc of rarities and a DVD. 2010 saw the long awaited re-release of the bands long out-of-print, highly collectable first album, as well as the launch of a massive reissue project of all the band's major label albums. During June 2010, the "classic" lineup of the band performed a three night stand at Minneapolis' legendary First Ave. club, the scene of so many great Jayhawks memories over the last quarter century. Anyone who was lucky enough to witness any of those recent shows knows all too well that the spirit of this essential American band is alive and well.

Drawing on influences like Gram Parsons, the Louvin Brothers, Tim Hardin, and Nashville Skyline-era Bob Dylan, the Jayhawks quickly became a local favorite, honing their sound in Twin Cities clubs before releasing their eponymous debut in 1986. Issued in a pressing of just a few thousand copies, the album was well-received by those who heard it; a major recording deal did not follow, however, so the band continued to polish their craft live, with more and more of their songs bearing writing credits belonging to both Olson and Louris. In October 1988, after a line-up change which saw the departure of Rogers (who joined the Cows) followed by the addition of drummer Thad Spencer, Louris was nearly killed in an auto accident, and the Jayhawks went on hiatus. At much the same time, however, executives at the Minneapolis independent label Twin/Tone decided to issue the demos the group had been stockpiling over the past few years, and after some overdubbing and remixing, Blue Earth appeared in 1989. Richer in sound and more complex in its themes and concerns, the record's release brought the group considerable attention, and also brought Louris back into the fold. After another drummer switch (Spencer for Ken Callahan), the band hit the road for a national tour.

The Jayhawks were signed to major label (Def) American Records after producer George Drakoulias heard The Blue Earth playing in the background during a phone call to Twin/Tone's offices. With Drakoulias in the producer's seat, the band recorded their breakthrough album Hollywood Town Hall in 1991; a mainstay of critics' annual "best of" lists, the album generated the alternative radio hits "Waiting for the Sun," "Take Me With You (When You Go)," and "Settled Down Like Rain." After a tour which saw the permanent addition of Minneapolis pianist Karen Grotberg, the individual band members guested on albums from Counting Crows, Soul Asylum, Maria McKee, Joe Henry and others. Before recording the fourth Jayhawks album, Callahan departed, and was replaced by session drummer Don Heffington. The resulting record, 1995's Tomorrow the Green Grass, is a beautiful collection of songs led off by the elegiac single "Blue," the recepient of significant airplay. A tour followed, but after some months on the road, Olson announced he was quitting the band. In 1997, the Jayhawks -- now consisting of Louris, Perlman, Grotberg and drummer Tim O'Reagan -- released the album Sound of Lies. Grotberg left the band in early 2000, and was replaced by ex-Dag keyboardist Jen Gunderman for the band's sixth album Smile. A move to a new label (Lost Highway) in 2002 brought about more changes in the band's ever evolving lineup, leaving Louris, Perlman and O' Reagan (assisted by newcomer Stephen McCarthy on guitar) to craft 2003's rootsier Rainy Day Music.
Piers Faccini - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Piers Faccini
Melodies and words are in Faccini’s bones and his finely crafted songs resonate with traces of his ancestry. If his songs were maps they would stretch from the English moors to the Saharan dunes via the parched plains of the Mediterrannean before spanning the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Mississippi Delta.
With the opening track from the new album 'My Wilderness', the narrator ‘calls out to the darkness’ seeking answers to unknown mysteries, as the rhythm builds to a Southern Italian Pizzica. Piers Faccini uses this beat, traditionally associated with healing and trance, to throw out his lament, weaving in his own lyrics while cellist and long-term friend and accomplice Vincent Segal replies with his bow.
With the track « The Beggar & The Thief » the creative net widens further. As the beguiling dialogue unfolds between the two characters, the song becomes an anthem to the stateless travellers of the world as Ibrahim Maalouf’s unmistakable trumpet slides between the voices conjuring up the spirits of early Rai or Balkan dances.
Whilst songs such as « Dreamer » « Three Times Betrayed » or « The Beggar & The Thief » undeniably evoke the dryness of Mediterranean landscapes. Others, on the map of this album, such as « A New Morning, » begin like an ancient work song before flowing into an ocean of choir and strings, transporting us to other climes and to one of the cornerstones of Piers Faccini’s writing : the legacy of Skip James, Son House and other pioneer troubadours of the great American songbook.
At the time of his first album in 2004, ‘Leave No Trace,’ Faccini was living more from his painting than writing and singing songs, and yet the slow-burn impact of his music around the world since then has allowed him to switch his energies full time to music. After years of travelling, and countless gigs with stop-overs in the studios of LA or Paris, collaborating with producers such as JP Plunier or Renaud Letang, this fourth album, « My Wilderness » is a return to this home-spun craft – an album which has been entirely produced and conceived by the singer-songwriter himself.
Faccini recorded this album at his home in the foothills of Southern France, nestled in the Mediterrannean rocks and flora. For Piers, recording albums means surrounding himself with old friends, people he can talk music with, true accomplices, fellow souls who share a common vision. For the last year or two, the friends he has invited to play and record music with him, at home, are the bassist Jules Bikoko, the drummer Simone Prattico and the violinist Rodrigo D’Erasmo. If music is a journey then with a band such as this it’s easy to travel.
Venue Information:
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069

All lineups and times subject to change