Back Roads And Abandoned Motels
For their follow-up to 2016’s Paging Mr. Proust, The Jayhawks have returned with country flair on Back Roads And Abandoned Motels. With the band’s tumultuous history, their 2016 release was the first following their second hiatus, effectively making this their sophomore album for their current era.
Back Roads And Abandoned Motels opens with “Come Cryin’ To Me” – perhaps one of the strongest songs on the record. Guided by an upbeat groove and rich rhythmic chords allowing for Karen Grotberg’s warm vocals to gently cruise over, the song is further aided by soft accenting horns and has a slightly funky step to it while also feeling reminiscent of the work of Fleetwood Mac. Unfortunately, however, what made for an excellent alternative take on the country genre on “Come Cryin’ To Me” is completely absent from the rest of the album.
Rather, The Jayhawks take a much safer and more traditional approach on the album. There is nothing wrong with that; after all, ballads like the album closer “Leaving Detroit”, along with “Gonna Be Darkness” to name a few are brilliantly written and highly emotive. That being said, “Come Cryin’ To Me” leads the listener to expect something drastically different from Back Roads And Abandoned Motels. Instead the rest of the albums is nearly all ballads and lacking of energy.
All things aside, Back Roads And Abandoned Motels is not a bad album; The Jayhawks continue to prove that they are great songwriters within the country genre, but as a whole, the album is a slow burner that doesn’t seem to even approach the excitement and unique nature of the opening track.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: THE JAYHAWKS – BACK ROADS AND ABANDONED MOTELS