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The Jayhawks

The average music fan knows the Beatles and the Rolling Stones are responsible for influencing countless artists that followed them. But, few recognize there is a fairly long list of more obscure bands and musicians like Big Star, Jellyfish and Tom Waits who were responsible for the emergence of countless popular artists. If you are a fan of Wilco, Son Volt, the Drive-By Truckers or any of the alt-country rockers of today, for example, thank The Jayhawks. The roots-pop pioneers emerged from Minnesota in the '80s around the same time as another similarly influential, if not well-known, act, the Replacements. In more than 25 years, they have managed to release only eight albums and toured just as sparingly, with varying lineups. But a flurry of activity in recent years — including their 1999 anthology Music From the North Country, the 2010 re-release of their difficult-to-find self-titled debut album and, in 2011, collector's editions of Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass and Mockingbird Time, the band's first new record since 2003 — gives them a chance to influence a whole new generation of artists with their brand of Brit-pop-infused Americana.

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