From The Desk Of The Jayhawks’ Mark Olson: Songwriting (The Guitar)

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: Gary Louris lives in Minneapolis, Minn., and Spain. He plays the guitar. He has a knack for finding interesting parts and writing songs that set you floating down the highway. He searches for the part, then—like a lasar beam—locks in.  Once this type of lockage has been achieved, you are now ready to perform with the Dixie Chicks, David Letterman and Mick Jagger and can look forward to the special, unreal feeling of playing in front of large audiences and the ability to travel and learn and play music your whole life.

Video after the jump.