Featuring both founding members Gary Louris and Mark Olson, as well as much of the “classic” band line up, Mockingbird Time reminds us of why we loved these Minnesota alt-country rockers in the first place with songs like the opening psychodelic-Beatle-esque “Hide your Colors”, the 60s influenced “Closer to Your Side” and the catchy, jangly pop refrains of “She Walks in So Many Ways.” Although not every song is a hit, and there are even a few small disappointments, listening to this release, particularly Louris’ and Olson’s lovely harmonies and skillful instrumentation, will make you glad the band is at it again.
Many cuts on this CD have a British Invasion feel, but its tempered with an overriding American sensibility, so that the result is more Byrds than Beatles. The Jayhawks never stray completely from the rootsy, rock-tinged sound that originally earned them their “alt” label. Hailed as Americana innovators when they arrived on the national music scene in the 90s, the band’s music influenced many artists that followed. Interestingly, while a song like “Tiny Arrows” bring to mind CSN&Y, the title track from this release is reminiscent of the young and hugely popular Avett Brothers, making you wonder if that influence has come full circle. Mockingbird Time deserves repeated listening to be fully appreciated, as the songs seem to better reveal themselves over time, each successive play divulging another facet of this very talented and quintessentially American band.