From The Desk Of The Jayhawks’ Mark Olson: Animal Communication Skills

Gary Louris and Mark Olson left Jayhawks fans in a lurch when they parted ways rather abruptly in 1995. Turns out Olson had tired of all the obligations and trappings that came with the Minneapolis-spawned group’s hard-won success. So he escaped to the Mojave Desert to ply a rootsier, salt-of-the-earth trade with the help of wife Victoria Williams. Ah, but time—and perhaps a little fiscal motivation—has a way of smoothing over the rough patches in many productive creative partnerships. (Unless you’re Bob Mould and Grant Hart.) And 15 years later, the Jayhawks have returned to us more-or-less fully intact. For how long, no one really knows, but they just did a string of shows to back the enhanced reissues of 1992’s Hollywood Town Hall and 1995’s Tomorrow The Green Grass (American/Legacy). With their sugary (if unrefined) harmonies, rugged intelligence and casual accessibility, the albums are to the alt-country movement what One Of These Nights and Hotel California were to ’70s SoCal country rock—even if the comparably modest sales figures may not indicate as much. Louris and Olson will be guest editing all week. Read our brand new Q&A with Louris.

Olson: Near Joshua Tree, Calif., musician Victoria Williams has a small farm. There are dogs, cats, donkeys, horses, turtles, doves, snakes, horned toads, kangaroo rats, chickens, ducks, goats and bumble bees (getting rare these days). All seem to form some type of union, and they manage to live in peace and harmony for the most part. I am convinced that some people have a way with animals that others will never know. Victoria has a gift. She has always had this. That’s the way it is.

Video after the jump.