"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
"There's nothing wrong with crabgrass. It just has a bad name, that's all. Everyone would love it if it had a cute name, like, uh, elf grass."
While Shakespeare understood that the intrinsic value of something doesn't changed based on its name, leave it to Homer to note that a name has everything to do with marketability.
I, for one, was sad in the mid-90s when Mark Olson left the band The Jayhawks. The way his voice intertwined and played off of co-lead-singer and songwriter Gary Louris made the band for me. Without that dynamic, without Olson, they were still a good band (and they continued to put out good records), but they weren't exactly what The Jayhawks were, to me.
Flash forward a decade later . . . Olson is ready to work with Louris again. They write some songs, do some shows, and eventually decide to make a record.
They release "Ready For The Flood" under the name "Mark Olson & Gary Louris." It is greeted warmly by old Jayhawks fans, receives some positive reviews, but makes only a minor impact on radio and record sales, only a minor impact culturally.
In 2011, however, Olson and Louris have recorded more songs, but this time they are releasing the record under the name "The Jayhawks." And yes, they do have some of their former bandmates in tow, and yes, those guys are great players. But does the addition or subtraction from the equation of the particular bass player, drummer and keyboard player make the record sound more or less like a "true" Jayhawks record? Not to me . . .
So how do you explain then, that while the Olson & Louris album was somewhat tepidly embraced, within a couple of weeks, The Jayhawks record is quickly climbing the Adult Alternative charts?
Clearly, Olson and Louris shouldn't have called their album "Ready For The Flood," they should have called it "Elf Grass."
See the video on Youtube.
See the album preview on Youtube.