Pioneers of the alternative country movement of the mid-1980s and early 1990s The Jayhawks have earned their place in musical history. Despite a few lineup changes that came about as the result of squabbles between co-founders Mark Olson and Gary Louris, the band is endured for more than 30 years. With such a long and storied (and tumultuous) career, it’s surprising that digital release “Live at the Belly Up” is the first band’s first official live recording.
While it would have been nice for the original lineup to have been on stage at the Belly Up Taveern in Solana Beach, Calif., for the Jan. 11, 2015 show, the Louris-fronted outfit shines on the 20-track, 80-minute release. Included in the set are plenty of classic Jayhawks tunes, along with some tasty songs from alt-country supergroup Golden Smog and a rollicking cover of classic country tune “I’m Down to My Last Cigarette.”
The possibility of a new studio album from The Jayhawks has been kicked around, but until (or if) that happens, fans can take solace in the band’s first-rate renditions of “Big Star,” “Take Me With You (When You Go),” “Tampa to Tulsa,” “Blue,” “Save It for a Rainy Day” and “Until You Came Along” (featuring Trapper Schoepp & The Shades). (Jeffrey Sisk)