LIVE: The Jayhawks @ The Egg, 1/17/19

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Review and photographs by Martin Benjamin

It was a sold out show at The Egg’s Swyer Theatre. The Jayhawks were out on tour promoting their most recent album, Back Roads and Abandoned Motels. A tight, every-song-is-really-good album, it’s chockful of songs that frontman Gary Louris wrote for others (including the Dixie Chicks, Carrie Rodriguez, Jakob Dylan) while on hiatus from The Jayhawks.

Whether you came to hear classic Jayhawks songs – “Waiting for the Sun,” “Rainy Day,” “Tailspin” and many more – or what Louris has been putting together more recently, you weren’t disappointed. The 25-song set provided a good dose of both.

The other original Jayhawk still flying with Louris is bassist Marc Perlman, who’s been a constant player since the band’s inception in 1984.

One of the stand-outs from Back Roads… was “Gonna Be a Darkness,” which was written for Jakob Dylan and appeared on the soundtrack of the TV show “True Blood.” Louris told a story about sitting in a bar with Jakob Dylan and Charlie Sexton and feeling like the really homely guy in the room. Apparently he is regular buds with Jakob.

Another stand-out from the recently released material was “Everybody Knows,” about his own insecurities. “Steppin’ out, everyone can see my face, all the things I can’t erase, in my life, everybody knows. Standing out, so you won’t forget my name, that’s the way we play this game. Everybody knows, I’m just barely getting by…” There was thunderous applause and plenty of fan whistles as “Blue” ended the set, leading to an encore of six more songs.

The opening act was the Austin-based Folk Uke, a charming, two-woman duo whose witty and clever cultural commentary and relationship songs were both entertaining and captivating. Song titles like “I Gave a BJ to a DJ,” “Shit Makes the Flowers Grow” and “Motherfucker Got Fucked Up” point to some of the irreverence and innocent silliness that is their approach. Their latest CD is titled Starfucker, and they told the sold-out audience that they know they are not on the shelves in Walmart.

Folk Uke began as a two-ukulele duo in 1998, but eventually one of them moved to guitar for a deeper sound as needed. They have beautiful voices, stage presence and a great sense of humor. The punch line is that Cathy Guthrie is the daughter of Arlo Guthrie, and Amy Nelson is the daughter of Willie Nelson. They met while bartending together in college in Southern California and hit if off.

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