Gary Louris (of The Jayhawks)
Over the last three decades, singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Gary Louris has built a deeply compelling body of music whose artistry and integrity has won the loyalty of an international audience and the respect of both critics and his peers. Best known for his seminal work with The Jayhawks, Louris is one of the most acclaimed musicians to come out of Minnesota’s teaming rock scene.
Louris began his recording career with the Minneapolis rockabilly combo Safety Last in 1984 before launching the Jayhawks with Mark Olson in 1985. They rose from their indie roots to achieve widespread prominence and acclaim by the early 90s and they continued to expand their creative boundaries after Olson left the band in 1995 for a solo career. Over the course of two decades from 1985-2004 The Jayhawks released 7 albums, performed constantly and won the hearts and minds of fans and critics alike. Concurrent with his time in the Jayhawks, Louris was also a charter member of the part-time alt-rock supergroup Golden Smog, which at various times also included members of Soul Asylum, Wilco, the Replacements and Big Star.
Over the years Louris has also found time to lend his writing, performing and production talents to albums by acts as diverse as the Black Crowes, the Dixie Chicks, Counting Crows, Joe Henry, John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams, Roger McGuinn, Maria McKee, Nickel Creek, Carrie Rodriguez, Tift Merritt, the Sadies, The Wallflowers and many others.
After The Jayhawks went on hiatus in 2004, Louris released his first-ever solo album (Vagabonds, 2008) and a duo album with Olson (Ready For The Flood, 2009). The Jayhawks reformed with Olson to record a new album in 2010 and followed that with extensive touring in 2011 and 2012. After another brief break, the re-release in 2014 of three late 1990s/early 2000s Jayhawks albums with Louris at the helm marked the culmination of a five year career-spanning archival reissue project supervised by Louris that covered The Jayhawk's major label albums and also saw a subsequent return to the road in June 2014 featuring a late 90s lineup of the band. In early 2015 the band released a digital live album, Live at the Belly Up 1-11-15, that captured the power and excitement of the current lineup.
In 2015 Louris joined forces with North Carolina singer/songwriter Django Haskins (from the band The Old Ceremony) for a new project called Au Pair. Au Pair released its debut album, One Armed Candy Bear and played a well-received tour in early 2016. In the fall of 2015 The Jayhawks traveled to Portland, Oregon and recorded a new album with Peter Buck from R.E.M. and Tucker Martine. Paging Mr. Proust, the ninth Jayhawks studio album, was released on April 29, 2016 on Sham/Thirty Tigers. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive, many calling it one of the best Jayhawks albums ever. The band was on the road through much of 2016 and early 2017 playing to enthusiastic crowds as this next chapter in the long history of The Jayhawks unfolds.
Along with keeping the Jayhawks flame burning, Louris is currently looking to the future and is busier than ever – writing songs, exploring new collaborative opportunities, performing well-received shows and embracing a wide array of challenges with newfound vigor and enthusiasm.