By Lynne Margolis

It’s understandable if Jayhawks fans feel like waiting for new music is like waiting for the sun in February. The Minneapolis-founded band’s last release of newly recorded studio material was 2011’s Mockingbird Time. But they’ve finally announced a release date for Paging Mr. Proust; the 11-song album will drop April 29.

Co-produced by band leader Gary Louris, R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and renowned player/producer Tucker Martine (the Decemberists, Modest Mouse, My Morning Jacket), the album features longtime Jayhawks Louris (lead vocals, guitars), Marc Perlman (bass), Tim O’Reagan (drums, vocals) and Karen Grotberg (keyboards, vocals). Though co-founder Mark Olson returned to the flock for the Jayhawks last album and subsequent tour, he is not heard on this one. Sometime member Kraig Johnson (Run Westy Run, Golden Smog) is also absent, but another R.E.M. vet — Mike Mills — sings on the track “Leaving the Monsters Behind.”

The Jayhawks spent most of the intervening years since their last album supporting expanded reissues of their beloved catalog, with and without Olson: Hollywood Town Hall, Tomorrow the Green Grass, Smile, Sound of Lies and Rainy Day Music.

The new album, recorded in Portland, Ore., at Martine’s Flora Recording & Playback studio, will be supported by several performances. So far, the band has announced a series of dates in May. They are:

May 13 – Barrymore Theatre, Madison, Wis.
May 14 – The Vogue Theatre, Indianapolis, Ind.
May 15 – Mr. Smalls, Pittsburgh, Pa.
May 17 – Harvester Center, Rocky Mount, Va.
May 18/19 – radio convention, Philadelphia, Pa.
May 20 – Headliner’s, Louisville, Ky.
May 21 –The Castle Theatre, Bloomington, Ill.
May 22 – The Englert Theatre, Iowa City, Iowa