The rock world is filled with jokes about drummers who really wanted to write and sing songs instead of bang the skins all day, but Tim O'Reagan's new disc suggests that there was a tunesmith behind the beat for The Jayhawks all along. O'Reagan had filled timekeeping duties for the country-rock band, and it's his voice that in recent years has intertwined with that of Gary Louris' to supply that band's trademark sound.
He doesn't stray too far from the genre on his new album, even bringing in members of his old band, including Louris, Mark Olson Marc Perlman and Karen Grotberg. The songs are breezy and melodic and more suitable for a long walk or a rest on the porch than they are for a Saturday night at your favorite watering hole. The opener, "These Things," nicely encapsulates the sound, with a tune that makes you want to sing alone. "That's The Game" adds a little more crunch to the mix. Many of these tunes are intricate and down-home. Those looking for some of The Jayhawks familiar guitar solos may be disappointed, but those who like light, catchy tunework will find many things in this disc to like.