Songs for the apocalypse: The Jayhawks “Smile”

My good friend and longstanding AUK comrade Keith Hargreaves and I had a debate recently about the best and worst of The Jayhawks. To be fair, there was agreement that there wasn’t much “worst” but of the best alas the waters between us got choppier. For me, ‘Smile’ is a patchy album but one with some of the best songs the band ever recorded – ‘Better Days’ and ‘A Break in the Clouds’ being two such examples, but the title track too for me just has a melody and arrangement that 20 years on from the first time I heard it still feels magical. “Wake up, put your shoes on, Take a breath of the northern air – And rub those eyes” – the song’s opening lines which are essentially my average day. And in a strictly Northern sense, it’s perhaps a more Beatlesy album than anything that came before or after it, but no bad thing for that. Chin up.


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Author: Mark Whitfield

Mark Whitfield has been the Editor of Americana UK for the last 19 years and still feels like this is his pretend job, mainly because it is.

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