Rykodisc; February 2008
Vagabonds is a melancholic and spiritually loaded contemplative first-album release for now-solo Jayhawks cofounder Gary Louris. The album contains flourishes of the uplifting melodies that define the ‘Hawks sound (see “Vagabonds” and “True Blue”), yet remains a rather laidback affair. “We’ll Get By” offers flourishes of a typical Louris chorus, with lilting, CSNY-style harmonies courtesy the Laurel Canyon Family Choir (Susanna Hoffs, Jenny Lewis, and producer Chris Robinson) driving the song to its melancholic resolution. “She Only Calls Me on Sundays” and “To Die a Happy Man” contain the searching, post-heartbreak tone that makes up most of the album. Vagabonds is more like a mellow, mature wine than the sophisticated ear candy previously offered up by Louris, making one hope he has some fire left in his belly to deliver a more impassioned second solo release.