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Hollywood Town Hall [LP]
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Performer Notes
  • The Jayhawks: Mark Olson (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica); Gary Louris (vocals, electric guitar); Marc Perlman (bass); Ken Callahan (drums).
  • Additional personnel: Benmont Tench, Nicky Hopkins (keyboards).
  • Engineers include: Brian Jenkins, Brendan O'Brien, Jim Rondinelli.
  • Recorded at Hollywood Sound, Hollywood, California and Pachyderm Studios, Canon Falls, Minnesota. Includes liner notes by Joe Henry.
  • Call it what you will, "Americana," "roots-rock" or "alt-country," in the case of the Jayhawks' major-label debut, it's simply great music. On these 10 tracks, Minnesotan singer/songwriters Gary Louris and Mark Olson mesh elements of rock, folk, and country into songs that sound both traditional and original at once. While their vocal harmonies follow the lineage of the Byrds and the Burrito Brothers, Olson and Louris are yin and yang on guitars, with Olson's steady acoustic strumming anchoring Louris' dynamic, fuzzed-out electric playing. Bassist Marc Perlman and drummer Ken Callahan provide a solid rhythm foundation, with star session players Benmont Tench (Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello) and Nicky Hopkins (the Beatles, the Rolling Stones) lending additional embellishment on piano, organ, and keyboards.
  • "Waiting For the Sun" and "Settled Down Like Rain" are instant classics, songs of ragged beauty that sound familiar after one listen. Others like "Crowded in the Wings" and "Two Angels" (much improved over the BLUE EARTH version) are folky narratives that highlight Louris and Olson's penchant for romantic rural storytelling. With its catchy melodies and rustic charm, HOLLYWOOD TOWN HALL is truly a landmark album in American music.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.58) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."

Rolling Stone (10/29/92, p.70) - 3.5 Stars - Good Plus - "...their definitive statement...when Louris's and Olson's voices rise together, the resulting magic somehow seems like nothing you've heard before...this album is as raggedly beautiful as any in recent memory..."

Spin (7/92, p.75) - Highly Recommended - "...The songs on HOLLYWOOD TOWN HALL are simplistic, yet rich with enlightened comments about everyday life...countrified guitar work and heart-wrenchingly beautiful melodies make every song sound sad..."

Entertainment Weekly (1/7/93, p.124) - Ranked #9 in Entertainment Weekly's list of the Top 10 Albums Of 1992 - "...Imagine a hearfelt combination of Gram Parsons, the Everly Brothers, and Neil Young's six-string..." Alternative Press (3/01, p.104) - Included in A.P.'s "10 Essential Alt-Country Albums".

Entertainment Weekly (9/25/92, p.66) - "...[an] effortless mix of sawdust harmonies and craggy electric guitars...sounds like the Everly Brothers backed by the Rolling Stones during their DEAD FLOWERS era..." - Rating: A

Q (9/00, p.135) - Included in Q's "Best Alt.Country Albums Of All Time"

Q (6/00, p.126) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...The warm country rock of Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers filtered through the mesh of indie attack from years in the scene that spawned Husker Du..."

Alternative Press (2/93, p.51) - "...If wearing your older brother's boots from the '70s is your thing, then the Jayhawks truly deliver...the Jayhawks generate the harmonica, steel-guitar, horse-riding thing so passionately you might relinquish the present angst for a dose of the feel-good past..."

Village Voice (3/2/93, p.5) - Ranked #15 in the Village Voice's list of the 40 Best Albums Of 1992.

Stereo Review (2/93, pp.120-121) - "...the songs flow effortlessly and easily, establishing a comfortable familiarity on first hearing and wearing well....HOLLYWOOD TOWN HALL is a tunefully melancholy place worth visiting over and over..."

Audio Magazine (1/93, p.152) - "...The country-tinged rock of the Jayhawks is both ingenious and unaggressive...this just makes the band more likable, as it emphasizes the high-quality songwriting..."

Reflex (11/10/92, p.71) - "...While the merging of country and rock is often a shaky union, on HOLLYWOOD TOWN HALL, The Jayhawks show the two can exist in perfect harmony..."

Stereophile (12/92, pp.263-265) - "...the Jayhawks are no retro band, and I hear neither condescending contempt nor fawning reverence in this remarkable album...If Gram Parsons was still alive, he'd be proud just to be in this band..."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.112) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's the core band that shines brightest on HOLLYWOOD TOWN HALL....Louris's guitar, fed through a Fuzz Face pedal, screams even on the 'quiet' numbers."

NME (Magazine) (10/3/92, p.37) - 7 - Good - "...their music feels timeless...there's plenty to admire...the road to nowhere still sounds like a cool place to be..."

Record Collector (magazine) (p.92) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] magnificently layered set of songs, rich in melodic twists and densely-constructed musical ideas..."

Uncut (magazine) (p.97) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The Mark Olson/Gary Louris songwriting team takes full flight on HOLLYWOOD, mixing spiky Crazy Horse guitars, creamy Everly Brothers harmonies, and a soulful, pensive undertow..."
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