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Vagabonds

Gary LourisAudio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

Price: $12.69 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 12 Songs, 2008 $9.49  
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 19, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rykodisc
  • ASIN: B000TLYOI4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,408 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. True Blue
2. Omaha Nights
3. To Die A Happy Man
4. She Only Calls Me On Sundays
5. We'll Get By
6. Black Grass
7. I Wanna Get High
8. Vagabonds
9. D.C. Blues
10. Meandering

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Gary Louris has shown pop-star eager earmarks since 1989, when his endearing "Baltimore Sun" cracked the honky-tonk playlist that was the Jayhawks’ sophomore record, Blue Earth. While Louris dipped his toe in a pop direction after Jayhawks co-founder Mark Olson departed in 1995, he never took the full plunge until now, with his first solo effort. Chiming with guitars and choruses and soaring melodies straight out of 1975, Vagabonds rightfully pens the Minneapolis musician inside a small stable of America’s greatest songwriters--and singers--adding three or four compositions to his career-best list. The 10-song record (produced by Chris Robinson, late of the Black Crowes) polishes the wide-ranging Louris palette with the simplest of instrumentation, including organ and banjo, ethereal pedal steel playing from Josh Grange, and a backing chorale led by Susannah Hoffs and Jenny Lewis. Louris's saccharine falsetto has never sounded better, whether it’s offering Paul Simon-like imagery ("To Die A Happy Man"), channeling John Lennon ("Black Grass") and Nick Drake ("Meandering"), or preaching with the Laurel Canyon choir ("I Wanna Get High"). Jayhawks followers will find comfort in "True Blue"--missing only Olson’s co-vocals--and "D.C. Blues," in which Louris borrows the traditional country line, "Hand me down my walking cane," before declaring, "It’s my game to win / It’s my game to lose." My money is on the former. --Scott Holter

Product Description

Through his two-decade stint as singer, guitarist and principal songwriter of The Jayhawks and as a member of alt-supergroup Golden Smog, Gary Louris has built a deeply compelling body of music whose artistry and integrity has earned him a loyal audience and the respect of critics and his peers. With his solo debut, Vagabonds, Louris steps out to deliver some of his most evocative and personal music yet with the aid of Black Crowes frontman and longtime fan, Chris Robinson, who co-produced the album s organically soulful performances. Louris trademark introspection and uplift is reflected on the standout True Blue, which offers a compelling blend of acoustic and electric textures. The title track acts as the musical and conceptual centerpiece of the record, with bittersweet, vivid imagery and a surging vocal chorus featuring Robinson, Susanna Hoffs and Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley. Natural, resonating collaborations such as these are at the heart of Vagabonds.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truest of blue February 28, 2008
By P. Opus
Format:Audio CD
Five (plus) stars.

I have been a Jayhwaks fan for years and was very disappointed when they called it quits. It was always oddly comforting to know that they were out there in the world quietly creating classic albums that stood the test of time. I liked the Louris-helmed material just as much as the Olson-Louris albums and thought that they were heading in a good direction when they released Rainy Day Music.

However now that I hear this album, perhaps the Jayhawks breakup wasn't such a bad thing. This continues pretty much where the band left off, returning to the rootsy sound that made them unique but with an added sense of smart-poppiness a la Golden Smog (Louris's "other band" in which he seemed to have been playing a larger role than before). So far my favorites are "Omaha Nights" (with a gospel-style chorus) and the ramshackle 70s-styled "She Only Calls Me On Sundays." But the thing is this album will grow on me over repeated listens, and other tracks will start to stand out as well and gain meaning as they form the backdrop to my life. This is something that has always been true of The Jayhawks' music too - their albums are meant to be digested over long periods of time and their facets reveal themselves over many listens. That above all else is the mark of a great musician - the ability to craft songs that stay with you. Gary Louris is that kind of musician and this album is a hands-down immediate classic on a par with The Jayhawks and Golden Smog albums that I love so much.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE SOUL OF MIDWEST AMERICA IS HERE! March 6, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I agree with some of the other reviewers - haunting, eerily stunning; however, I feel the Byrds influence here, but not Crosby's 1st solo - with the rich chorus texture and subtle vocal effects - I'm hearing more Gene Clark's No Other album influence than anything else. This album is weird, after the first listen, it didn't grab me at all - because it's not an "in your face" recording. I've left it in the car player all week and I don;t know if I can take it out! I hear something wonderfully new every time I listen through it. His voice is alluring, like Tweedy of Wilco. True Blue American mid-west SOUL. This is a solid work of a master songcraftsman. It would be cool to shake his hand some day. Tell him he's good. And mean it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Vagabonds February 25, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I'm a big Jayhawks fan and of course immediately pounced on this record. It has a beautiful sound, with the chorus swelling behind Gary's lovely voice, not to mention the pedal steel throughout which I love.

This record has a timely quality to it like it could have been made back in the 70's feeling to it. If you love early Eagles, Jackson Browne, the Byrds, the Burrito Bros., this will fit right in.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Topanga redux February 19, 2008
Format:Audio CD
Being a big fan of Louris' melancholia, this organic-sounding album hit a chord with me. I also got a early-release vinyl version from Ryko, so I've given this one a few spins and allowed it to sink in. The sound of the pedal steel and the use of rich harmony chorus singing remind me of the David Crosby album If I could Only Remember my name, and the album has a haunted quality much like that record as well. Its a sleeper and a keeper.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful bucolic balladry March 6, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The dynamic of certain bands is such that when their wildly talented frontman--or woman--steps out of the shadows and demands the spotlight to be thrust upon them in the context of a solo project, it often confirms something for the listener: they were the flesh and blood of the band all along.

Actually, this brings to mind the producer of this particular CD, Chris Robinson. (Check out both of his fantastic solo discs: they bring with them the best of the Black Crowes--their organic rootsiness, poetic luster, as well as grit and arrogance--all staples of his full time gig.)

As for Gary Louris' first solo outing, it's diffiult to mourn the now defunct Jayhawks--despite the stellar nature of their latest disc, Rainy Day Music. Vagabonds is the best of the Jayhawks: it's a pure, stripped down affair that's all about the songs. And Louris brings with him ten new beauties. Check out the gorgeous acoustic poetics of "True Blue" or the forlorn country laze of "She Only Calls Me On Sundays." "Omaha Nights", perhaps the rowdiest tune on the disc, is nevertheless steeped in some of Louris' most profound lyrics: "Am I growing old in the arms of the wrong lover."

A detour into trippier territory with songs like "I Wanna Get High" and "Black Grass" are welcomed deviations. A track by track listing is not necessary. Everything about this music works: it's warm, inviting, and without a trace of pretense. On the one hand, the tunes suggest the somber melancholy of a jilted, contemplative lover, while on the other they proudly reveal the heart of a man who knows where he's been and where he's going. Louris, hopefully--and possibly with Robinson at his side once again--will continue to light out for similar ground, following the shadow of his muse.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Blue Louris March 5, 2008
Format:Audio CD
I have been impressed with Gary Louris's work for over 20 years. His output with the Jayhawks speaks for itself. In a strange way, I found this new release to be a logical progression from "Rainy Day Music", the Jayhawks' swan song and best CD. When I first listened to this CD, the first thing I referenced (as one poster has already astutely noted) was "If I could Only Remember My Name" by David Crosby from 1971. This CD has a very intimate, very organic feel to it. It is very L.A./Laurel Canyon/Early 70's in terms of being creatively open, yet very accessible. The arrangements are scaled down, but you can still hear the great pop, rock and americana sensibilities that Louris has always had. You can tell that this music is coming from a very creative focus as opposed to pandering to demographic or genre in terms of entertainment value. That's not to say that Louris has ever pandered to an audience for purposes of pure entertainment, and he is certainly a skilled and seasoned live performer. However, this is a real step forward for him in terms of that this just might be the first time he has completely captured his muse on record (CD) in the way that he has always wanted to. My favorites here include the title cut, "True Blue", "I Wanna Get High", "Omaha Nights", and "Black Grass", although there is not a bad song of the 10 offerings here. If this is the kind of thing that is happening in L.A. at the present time, the future looks bright for those of us who are craving a return to literate and well-crafted songs. Thanks, Gary.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars golden voice, silver songs
I love the Gary Louris version of the Jayhawks after Mark Olsen left (the first time) and those are some of my favorite albums by the band. What a great voice. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Donald E. Gilliland
5.0 out of 5 stars It gets in your soul
I wrote a brief review of this album shortly after receiving it, and I gave it four stars. I had to come back, add a star, and completely revise. Read more
Published on February 6, 2011 by maelje
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Turner Hall Show In Milwaukee...
Just saw the man last night for the local public radio station WUWM benefit...True Blue, Vagabonds, To Die A Happy Man, and DC Blues were powerful statements of originality and... Read more
Published on October 25, 2008 by P. J. Burke
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
One of the most thoughtful albums I've ever heard. Gary really lets out all of his thoughts on a wide range of subjects. Read more
Published on October 14, 2008 by R. Griffis
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but liked Jayhawks material a bit more
I thought the album was excellent, although I am used to more up-tempo songs that Gary does with the Jayhawks. It is growing on me the more I listen to it. Read more
Published on October 3, 2008 by Richard P. Thorne
4.0 out of 5 stars JD
Anyone who is a fan of the Jayhawks will love this album. Great, easy listening tunes for you to curl up and listen to.
Published on September 16, 2008 by J. Eisenhour
4.0 out of 5 stars former Jayhawks frontman solo cd
Good Cd. Not quite a Jayhawks of Golden Smog CD but a good listen.
Published on August 25, 2008 by R. Meissen
2.0 out of 5 stars Trial pick
I've had many a good random pick from previous reviews, but I should have read a bit further on this one ... Read more
Published on May 11, 2008 by jae
4.0 out of 5 stars Jayhawks leader on his own
Gary has been a busy boy, between fronting the Jayhawks and co-writing many of the songs on the Dixie Chicks' Grammy winner. Read more
Published on April 23, 2008 by Kenneth J. Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight From the Heart
Gary's songs are straight from his heart to yours. There's a timeless quality here that crosses eerily and effortlessly from the 70s right into today. Read more
Published on April 16, 2008 by Helen Littrell
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