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Rainy Day Music

4.6 out of 5 stars 151 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 8, 2003
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Editorial Reviews


Somewhere inside Rainy Day Music beats the heart of a very fine folk-rock record. All chiming guitars and flawless falsetto, "Stumbling Through the Dark" captures the classic Jayhawks sound, and mid-tempo rockers "Tailspin" and "Eyes of SarahJane" recall older favorites like "I'd Run Away." "All the Right Reasons" floats on heavenly harmonies and "Save It for a Rainy Day" succeeds with nifty vocal interplay and a bright melodic hook. Yet, even with its share of jangle-pop gems, the disc also offers a few bland strummers that never quite take off. "One Man's Problem" boasts a catchy chorus but a dragging verse, and when chief songwriter Gary Louris hands the reins to drummer Tim O'Reagan or bassist Marc Perlman, the results suffer. The tasty pop treat "Angelyne" and an album-closing acoustic reprise of the opening track help redeem the disc's latter half, but in the end they only hint at how strong an album this might have been. --Anders Smith Lindall

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Stumbling Through The Dark
  2. Tailspin
  3. All The Right Reasons
  4. Save It For A Rainy Day
  5. Eyes Of Sarahjane
  6. One Man's Problem
  7. Don't Let The World Get In Your Way
  8. Come To The River
  9. Angelyne
  10. Madman
  11. You Look So Young
  12. Tampa To Tulsa
  13. When I See You In Heaven
  14. Stumbling Through The Dark (Reprise)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 8, 2003)
  • Imported ed. edition
  • Original Release Date: April 8, 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: American
  • ASIN: B00008NRLX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,313 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
They say that most artists have one great record in them and that they tread water from then on in, trying to recapture that elusive 'something'. I remember hearing Hollywood Town Hall, buried under my first job, playing in bad bar bands and thinking things mattered more than they did. I also remember listening to the opening riffs of waiting for the sun, the fuzz pedal illuminating a staccato drawl and being hit by how pure the harmony was and how easy they made it sound. The Jayhawks were my big secret - living in the UK they hardly got mass media attention - and they were where I went to escape. Songs that made you feel something.
The first bars of Stumbling through the Dark, the simple chord progression, the layers of instrumentation building up until the drums kick in then the voices holding it all together, harmony and counter harmony. And the one thing that rings out is the simplicity of it all. A great production, open and clear allows the instruments to come through separate but together.
All the reviews I've read rely on other bands as markers. It sounds like the Burrito's, it sounds like the Eagles, and it's the Byrds, CSNY revisited. It's all of these but more importantly it's the Jayhawks. That's not to say references can't be made. Marc Perlman's bass lines could have come straight from John Wesley Harding era Dylan. The guitar on SarahJane out Keefs Keith Richards. One Man's problem has a Stones swagger to it. Don't let the world get in your way draws heavily on Bowie but takes Major Tom to a bar and gets him drunk on good whiskey and makes him empty his heart.
But when people have to use comparisons drawn from the past, it's because they don't sing songs like these anymore. And these are songs - not samples or compressed theft from others with more talent.
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Format: Audio CD
Producer Ethan Johns (of Ryan Adams fame) described the Jayhawks song structures as American roots music with British melodies. I think he hit it on the head. The influences heard on 'Rainy Day Music' range from Gram Parsons to the Kinks, CSN&Y to the Beatles, the Beach Boys to Faces . But in the end the sound is undeniably unique. Even though influence is evident, there is nothing recycled or banal about this music. It is pure, stripped down goodness. Gary Louris and gang have left behind the glossy, out of place production of 'Smile' and the psychedelic experimentation that floated through 'Sound of Lies' allowing the new songs to speak for themselves. In this bare form the tunes seem deceptively simple, yet with repeat listens the intricacy of Louris' writing reveals itself proving that this album will only age better with time. By cutting away the excess 'Rainy Day Music' offers up sparse, honey soaked ditties dealing with love, loss, and being lost. The great achievment here is that they make loneliness and longing so damn beautiful. The harmonies that have become associated with the Jayhawks' sound are here but more subtle. Songs such as All the Right Reasons, Save it for a Rainy Day and Angelyne are among the best this band has ever produced. Drummer Tim O'Reagan's gem Tampa to Tulsa is more aching and intimate on the demo version as is Louris' gorgeous ballad All the Right Reasons. And what better way to end this collection than with Gary playing Waiting for the Sun all by his lonesome.
There will be those who still say the Jayhawks aren't the same without Mark Olson. Well, yes, this is a different incarnation of the Jayhawks. One, in my opinion, just as glorious as when Olson was co-fronting the band. Gary Louris has had the bravery to march forward into new territory, to constantly challenge himself and his bandmates by respecting the past but never trying to relive it. With 'Rainy Day Music' the Jayhawks continue to evolve. I can't wait to see what's next.
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Format: Audio CD
From the chiming first chords introducing Mark Louris' soaring falsetto on "Stumbling Through the Dark (Lost Highway)," it's clear the sixth effort from the slimmed-down Jayhawks will chart a return to their roots as folk rockers in the tradition of The Byrds. "Smile," their 2000 release, found them moving into polished pop/rock with the should-have-been radio hit, "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me." But it also created an identity crisis for longtime fans weaned on "Hollywood Town Hall" and "Tomorrow the Green Grass.
"Rainy Day Music" brings them back home. Soaring harmonies are everywhere. So are nice touches of banjo, pedal steel, mandolin and keyboards. Just what you'd expect from a Jayhawks disc. The first half of the record compares favorably to the best of the group's work with "Tailspin," "Save It For a Rainy Day" and "Angelyne" taking their place alongside tasty oldies like "Waiting for the Sun" and "I'd Run Away." "All the Right Reasons" might be the best ballad the band has produced in half a decade.
Reverberations of the sheen of "Smile" show up in two Beatles'-flavored cuts, "The Eyes of Sarah Jane" and "Don't Let the World Get in Your Way," while "Madman" recalls '80s CSN (which may be good or bad, depending upon your perspective). There are a couple of duds on the disc's latter half.
In the main, though, "Rainy Day Music" is a promising return to form. I slipped it into the player leaving D.C. on a road trip recently and when the album finished, I hit play again -- and then again for a third time. It's that kind of disc.
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