Seminal Minneapolis band The Jayhawks have announced their new album XOXO will release on July 10 via Sham/Thirty Tigers. Featuring their most diverse and wide-ranging group of songs to date, XOXO marks a new era in collaboration, with songwriting and lead vocal contributions from all four longtime band members – Gary Louris, Marc Perlman, Karen Grotberg and Tim O’Reagan. Along with the announcement, The Jayhawks have released a new video with Louris performing a stripped-down version of “Living In A Bubble”, a timely song that laments the problematic nature of our ratings-driven news cycle.
“‘Living In A Bubble’ lyrically is a reaction to the 24-hour news cycle and how the media can fan the flames of fear if one let’s it,” says Louris. “It is also a commentary about data collection, Big Brother, and our obsession with devices, while never being truly present in the here and now. Musically it is an homage to the great Harry Nilsson, and is driven by the amazing piano playing of Karen Grotberg.”
XOXO is a testament to The Jayhawks’ unrelenting ability to evolve while remaining true to the authentic sound that has made them one of the most influential and respected bands today. Recorded over two weeks holed up together at the secluded Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, MN, as well as at Flowers Studio, founded by their friend and Minneapolis music stalwart the late Ed Ackerson, XOXO is an album fueled by chemistry and trust. The group’s camaraderie is at the heart and soul of these 12 songs, bringing an injection of confidence and energy to The Jayhawks’ signature harmonies, infectious melodies and masterful musicianship. From Louris’ pointedly transportive “Homecoming” to Grotberg’s timelessly poetic “Ruby” to the the Pearlmen-led, folk-driven “Down To The Farm” and the trippy O’Reagan/Perlman co-write “Illuminate”, XOXO is the product of a group that is more inspired and more itself than ever before.
“It was time to open things up,” explains Louris. “The Jayhawks are a true band, one where every-one’s an equal, and we wanted to make a record that really reflected that.” Elaborating on the process, Perlman says, “Some songs we molded together from scratch, but others had been fully written by one or the other of us. We didn’t worry too much about who penned what, because after all these years of playing together, everything we do just naturally comes out sounding like a Jayhawks song.”