When the Jayhawks decided to go on hiatus in 2005, there were probably very few fans asking themselves, "Gee, I wonder what the drummer is going to do next?" But it turns out the guy was someone to watch -- Tim O'Reagan, who spent ten years behind the traps with the Jayhawks and previously played with the Leatherwoods and Joe Henry, happens to be a gifted songwriter who has a real knack for great pop tunes. As you might expect, Tim O'Reagan has more than a few numbers with the sort of autumnal alt-country undertow that was the Jayhawks' trademark (such as "River Bends"), but the man can also put together a citified Beatlesque arrangement complete with glorious stacked harmonies ("Highway Flowers") and a bit of twang-infused chamber pop that wouldn't seem out of place on Wilco's Summerteeth ("These Things"). Though O'Reagan had help in the studio from a number of talented friends (including Gary Louris, Mark Olson, and Jim Boquist), he played many of the instruments himself, and he's a far better multi-instrumentalist that the average drummer, while his vocals have a slightly rumpled sincerity that's genuinely winning. Despite Tim O'Reagan's track record, his first solo album is hardly for alt-country completists only -- in fact, folks who love smart, well-crafted pop in the manner of the Pernice Brothers or the Chamber Strings will probably find more to like here than the average Son Volt fanatic, though they're likely to tap their toes as well. In short, a very pleasant surprise.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming