The American band The Jayhawks was formed in 1985 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by vocalists e guitarists Mark Olson and Gary Louris, bassist Marc Perlman and drummer Norm Rogers, with country rock as the main reference genre for their music. In their first albums, the group's music was characterized mainly by the duets between Mark Olson and Gary Louris.
The Jayhawks, the first album, came out in 1986 on the Bunkhouse Records label. After this record, Norm Rogers left the band, being replaced by Thad Spencer. During this period, Louris temporarily left the group after a car accident. With the return of Louris, The Jayhawks released the album Blue Earth in 1989, gathering tracks recorded between 1986 and 1989. Afterwards, drummer Spencer left the band, leaving the place for Ken Callahan, who remained in the group until 1993.
In the early 1990s, the band signed with American Recordings, for which they released their next five albums: Hollywood Town Hall (1992), Tomorrow the Green Grass (1995), Sound of Lies (1997), Smile (2000) and Rainy Day Music (2003). Hollywood Town Hall was his first successful album, making it onto the best of the year lists and generating some hits on alternative radio, such as "Settled Down Like Rain", "Waiting for the Sun" and "Take Me with You (When You Go) ".
During the Hollywood Town Hall tour, pianist Karen Grotberg was added to the band's lineup. Before recording for the fourth album, Ken Callahan left the band and Don Heffington took over the drums in the recording sessions.
The acclaimed Tomorrow the Green Grass came out in 1995. During the tour of this album, Olson announced his departure from The Jayhawks.
With Louris, Perlman, Grotberg and drummer Tim O'Reagan, the band released in 1997 the album Sound of Lies. In 2000, the band released Smile, an album featuring keyboardist Jen Gunderman (who had replaced Grotberg) in the group's formation. Following was the Rainy Day Music (2003).
After a long break, The Jayhawks returned in 2011 to record a new album with the following line-up: Mark Olson, Gary Louris, Marc Perlman, Karen Grotberg and Tim O'Reagan. Mockingbird Time came out in September 2011. In 2016, the band released Paging Mr. Proust, an album co-produced by Peter Buck (R.E.M.). Titled Back Roads and Abandoned Motels, The Jayhawks' tenth album came out in 2018. On XOXO, the 2020 album, all four members - Louris, Perlman, O'Reagan and Grotberg - contributed the lead vocals and compositions.