Former Jayhawks frontman releases first-ever solo album
Gary Louris is one of the unsung heroes of contemporary roots music. His band The Jayhawks made one of alt.country’s landmark albums, 1992’s stately Hollywood Town Hall, and since then he has collaborated with a range of artists including Jeff Tweedy, Rhett Miller, The Sadies and the Dixie Chicks. Strangely, Vagabonds is his ?rst solo album, shuffling onto shelves some 20 years into his career and three years since the (permanent?) dissolution of The Jayhawks. All of the Louris hallmarks are present: the low-key choruses on “Omaha Nights” and “D.C. Blues”; the dusty harmonies of “True Blue” and “Meandering”; the country-rock hooks of “She Only Calls Me On Sundays” and the title track. Certainly, Vagabonds sounds warmly familiar, but over 10 tracks, the album settles into a genial lull that even the punchy “I Wanna Get High” can’t rouse. Too low-key to rival his best work, the album nevertheless serves as a reminder of Louris’ continued relevance.