Django Haskins & Gary Louris | Motorco Music Hall | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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Django Haskins & Gary Louris 

When: Fri., Jan. 24, 9 p.m. 2014
Price: $8-$10
When Gary Louris and Django Haskins first met in June, they were two musicians idly talking shop between sound checks. They were both in Chicago to participate in a tribute to Big Star's Third, organized by Chris Stamey. What began as amusing chitchat about worn-out phrases—"It is what it is" and "My bad," for example—morphed into a collaboration that premieres this weekend in Durham.

Louris first made waves with The Jayhawks in the early '90s; these days he has four side-projects in motion, a process he likens to dating. And as with dating, his collaboration with Django Haskins, the prolific songwriter and leader of The Old Ceremony, simply came down to two people hitting it off. But no one really sets out to be a collaborator.

"I would rather have been one of those guys like Neil Young or Dylan, who didn't have to go to Nashville," he says, "or someone in a band successful enough that you didn't need to do that."

But to make a living from music, that was what he needed to do. He's found collaboration to be an enjoyable necessity, but it remains a pregnant topic for someone whose first band held such promise and whose influence on subsequently successful bands is so apparent. Louris genially describes attending the recent Americana Music Awards with a friend who happened to have an extra ticket.

"It was an odd feeling, because there are those who believe that we had a lot to do with inventing the genre," he says. "I don't think I could have gotten arrested there."

Louris does not imagine that the 'Hawks missed their chance due to bad timing. "It's definitely grown into this thing that the Jayhawks are not a part of," he says. "We were too country for rock, too rock for country. We were kind of the Fleetwood Mac of Americana—a little more pop than a lot of 'em. We helped invent a genre, and we don't fit into it ourselves."

On Friday, he and Haskins will debut the four "semi-complete" songs they have written together, alternating solo sets with duo performances. Each singer will sing a handful of the others' songs. So there's no great concept here, other than two songwriters working together. It is what it is. (My bad) —David Klein

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