Mark Olson And Gary Louris: 'Pretty' Voices

  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "Turn Your Pretty Name Around"
  • Artist: Mark Olson and Gary Louris
  • CD: Ready for the Flood
  • Genre: Folk-Pop
Mark Olson and Gary Louris 300

"Turn Your Pretty Name Around" displays Mark Olson and Gary Louris' still-miraculous harmonies to great effect. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist

The Jayhawks' members were alt-country flag-bearers back when being an alt-country flag-bearer was still a big deal. Dual frontmen Mark Olson and Gary Louris had the best harmonies in the business — few others even came close — and when Olson left the band in 1995, neither he nor The Jayhawks were ever the same. After inching towards a rapprochement over the past few years, Louris and Olson have collaborated on Ready for the Flood, an almost-acoustic, not-quite-reunion disc. Produced by The Black Crowes' Chris Robinson, it's got a ramshackle, offhanded feel: It sounds like what might have happened had Simon & Garfunkel made a record in Laurel Canyon in 1998.

While Flood lacks the characteristic warmth of The Jayhawks' full-band recordings, it possesses moments of true, un-fussed-over beauty, chief among them the slight, somber "Turn Your Pretty Name Around." Perhaps more than any other track, it displays the duo's still-miraculous harmonies to great effect; if it doesn't do much else, it doesn't really need to. It's a woeful and meditative tale of a relationship gone wrong that's both a great song in its own right and a compelling argument for getting the old band back together.

Listen to yesterday's Song of the Day, and subscribe to the Song of the Day newsletter.

Purchase Featured Music

Ready for the Flood

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Ready for the Flood
Mark Olson/Gary Louris
New West

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?




Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.