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The Jayhawks’ New Album, ‘Back Roads and Abandoned Motels,’ Available Friday, July 13

11 Track Collection Showcases Gary Louris’ Compositions Co-Written with Dixie Chicks, Jakob Dylan, Emerson Hart (of Tonic), Ari Hest, Scott Thomas, Carrie Rodriguez and More

The Jayhawks’ First Studio Album for Legacy Recordings Also Premieres Two Brand-New Gary Louris Songs

Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release Back Roads and Abandoned Motels, a new studio album from The Jayhawks, on Friday, July 13.

Available in Digital, CD, and 12″ vinyl formats, Back Roads and Abandoned Motels is The Jayhawks’ tenth studio album and first for Legacy Recordings (who issued the group’s first compilation, Music From The North Country – The Jayhawks Anthology, in 2009 followed by releases of expanded Legacy Editions of the group’s fabled American breakout titles–Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass–in 2011). (PRE-ORDER

Following the release of Back Roads and Abandoned Motels, The Jayhawks will perform select concert dates throughout 2018 beginning with a performance at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival on June 16 (see concert schedule below).

Produced by Gary Louris, John Jackson and Ed Ackerson at Flowers Studio, Minneapolis, Back Roads and Abandoned Motels sets nine songs co-written by Louris with other artists alongside two of Gary’s latest compositions.

Recorded in two soulful sessions in 2017, Back Roads and Abandoned Motels finds the current incarnation of The Jayhawks–Louris (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars), Marc Perlman (bass), Tim O’Reagan (vocals, drums, percussion), Karen Grotberg (vocals, piano, keyboards), John Jackson (mandolin, violin, acoustic guitar)–expanding the group’s repertoire with 11 new performances of Gary’s songs.  Karen and Tim each sing lead on two songs on the album. Tim performs “Gonna Be a Darkness” and “Long Time Ago” while Karen takes lead vocals (for the first time on a Jayhawks album) on the opener, “Come Cryin’ to Me (featuring a soulful horn section arranged by David Ralicke) and on “El Dorado.”

Destined to become a classic in The Jayhawks’ catalog, the Back Roads and Abandoned Motels setlist of songs co-written by Louris includes “Come Cryin’ to Me” (originally released on Natalie Maines’ Mother in 2013); “Everybody Knows” and “Bitter End” (released on Dixie Chicks’ Taking The Long Way in 2006); “Gonna Be a Darkness” (written and performed by Louris and Jakob Dylan for True Blood: Music From The HBO Original Series – Volume 3 in 2011); “Need You Tonight” (originally released on Scott Thomas’ Matson Tweed in 2015); “El Dorado” (originally released on Carrie Rodriguez’ She Ain’t Me in 2008); “Bird Never Flies” (originally released on Ari Hest’s The Break-In in 2007); “Backwards Women” (written with Wild Feathers but never recorded) and “Long Time Ago” (written with Emerson Hart of Tonic but never recorded).

Back Roads and Abandoned Motels debuts two of Gary’s latest songs, “Carry You To Safety” and “Leaving Detroit.”

For more than three decades, The Jayhawks’ deeply melodic, harmony-rich blend of rock, folk and country have earned them consistent praise from fans and critics alike. Back Roads and Abandoned Motels expands the group’s repertoire with brand-new recordings of songs that frontman Gary Louris has co-written with other acts.

“If you want a chorus, you’d better call Louris,” it’s been said and Gary’s tackle-box of hooks and easy approach to collaboration have made him an in-demand songwriting partner. He co-wrote four songs with the Dixie Chicks on their Grammy Award-winning album Taking The Long Way (2006) and later contributed to Mother, the 2013 solo debut by Natalie Maines, the group’s lead singer. Louris has also collaborated with such notable singer-songwriters as Jakob Dylan and Ari Hest, along with country and rock acts like Carrie Rodriguez and Wild Feathers.



  1. Come Cryin’ To Me (Gary Louris, Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire, Emily Robison)
  2. Everybody Knows (Gary Louris, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison, Martie Maguire)
  3. Gonna Be A Darkness (Jakob Dylan, Gary Louris)
  4. Bitter End (Emily Robison, Natalie Maines, Gary Louris, Martie Maguire)
  5. Backwards Women (Gary Louris, Joel King, Taylor Burns, Ricky Young)
  6. Long Time Ago (Emerson Hart, Gary Louris)
  7. Need You Tonight (Scott Thomas, Gary Louris, Kristen Hall)
  8. El Dorado (Carrie Rodriguez, Gary Louris, Malcolm Burn, Sandra Jennifer (Sandrine) Daniels)
  9. Bird Never Flies (Ari Hest, Gary Louris)
  10. Carry You To Safety (Gary Louris)
  11. Leaving Detroit (Gary Louris)


The Jayhawks 2018 Concert Dates

June 16            BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival – Brooklyn, New York

June 23            Shake the Lake Festival – Madison, Wisconsin

July 13              Thalia Hall – Chicago, Illinois

July 14              Square Roots Festival – Chicago, Illinois

July 15              Minnesota Zoo – Apple Valley, Minnesota

July 17             The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Race Across Iowa Festival – Iowa City, Iowa

September 6     Mercy Lounge – Nashville, Tennessee

September 7      RiverMusic Festival – Asheville, North Carolina

September 8     Hopscotch Music Festival – Raleigh, North Carolin

September 21   World Cafe Live – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

September 22   Bowery Ballroom – New York, New York         (SOLD OUT)

September 23   Tarrytown Music Hall – Tarrytown, New York

October 11       The Birchmere – Alexandria, Virginia

October 12       Outpost in the Burbs – Montclair, New Jersey

October 13       Somerville Theatre – Somerville, Massachusetts