Old 97's Rhett Miller preps solo CD
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
– Old 97's front man Rhett Miller will release a collection of new songs on June 9, his fourth solo album and the first on Shout! Factory. The self-titled album is the darkest of Miller's release, according to the label.
"My approach to songwriting has always been to take a heavy subject and put it to a bouncy tune. This record takes that trick to the next level." Miller said. "Don't get me wrong, there are some rays of sunshine on the album, but there is a lot of deep night."
"The death of my grandmother, the suicide of my hero, David Foster Wallace. In my head, I was sort of in a dark place when I made this record." Laughing, he said, "It's still a fun record to listen to. It's a fine line you gotta walk, right?"
Miller penned all the songs on the record with the exception of If It's Not Love, which was co-written with Matt Scannell. "Rhett Miller" was produced by Salim Nourallah, who also produced the latest Old 97's release, 2008's "Blame It On Gravity."
The 12-song set also features multi-instrumentalist and producer, Jon Brion on guitar and bass, The Apples In Stereo's John Dufilho on drums and Billy Harvey on guitar.
Of the album's most rocking track, Miller says, "Happy Birthday Don't Die came to me in a fevered rush the morning before I headed to Texas to make the record. The whole story was there in my head when I woke up. This weird sci-fi portrait of a little old lady buried in the catacombs of some colony planet celebrating her 100th birthday by dying. Writing that song was like speaking in tongues, very strange."
"Sometimes came out of hearing my two-year-old daughter singing to herself in her crib one morning. I took her little tune and fleshed it out into first a chorus and then a whole song."
While maintaining his career with the Old 97's, Austin-born Rhett Miller has also released three previous solo albums, "Mythologies," recorded during his junior year in high school and produced by future Old 97's co-founder, Murry Hammond, in 1989, 2002's "The Instigator" and "The Believer" in 2006. While based in Dallas, Miller and Hammond formed Old 97's in 1993. With their effortless combination of rock, power-pop and country, the band became a key player on the alt.-country scene. They have released seven studio albums to date.
Songs on Miller's CD are:
1. Nobody Says I Love You Anymore
2. Like Love
4. I Need to Know Where I Stand
5. Happy Birthday Don't Die
8. If It's Not Love
9. Another Girlfriend
10. Refusing Temptation
Miller and the Old 97's will be on tour throughout the summer and fall. Many of these shows will be billed as "An Evening With...," and will feature an opening solo set by Miller during which he will perform songs from the new album and favorites from his solo catalog.
Upcoming shows are:
March 11 - New York, Carnegie Hall (R.E.M. Tribute Performance w/ Patti Smith, Glenn Hansard, Calexico and more.)
March 24 - Solana Beach, CA Belly Up
March 26 - Los Angeles, Largo
March 27 - Redondo Beach, CA Brixton South Bay
March 28 - Santa Cruz, CA Crepe Place
March 29 - San Francisco, Yoshi's
April 11 - Ithaca, NY Castaways
April 16 - New York, Le Poisson Rouge
May 1 - Red Bank, NJ Count Basie Theatre - Writers in the Raw w/ David Johansen of the New York Dolls, Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and others.
May 13 - Northampton, MA Iron Horse
May 14 - Boston, The Paradise
Love the Holidays
"Love the Holidays" may read like one of those old timey Christmas album titles. You know, those sanitized, safe for the whole family song sets. Granted, there's nothing particularly family unfriendly on this seasonal collection; however, it's still a fairly typical Old 97's album. Vocalist Rhett Miller is just too angsty to ever make completely overjoyed, celebratory music. This album is typical Old 97's music, in the best sense of the term.
"Christmas Is »»»
Old 97s' "Graveyard Whistling" is a slight return to form after 2014's "Most Messed Up," which was heavy on profanity, but far too light on charming country songs. "Graveyard Whistling" is a little more innocent and a lot more fun than its predecessor.
"Bad Luck Charm," for instance, finds lead vocalist Rhett Miller playing a familiar role - that of lovable loser. "I'm just another black cat crossing your street," Miller warns, in »»»
Hitchhike to Rhome: 20th Anniversary Reissue
Are the Old 97's country? Zydeco? Irish pub rock? Blues?
The bad news is that the 20th anniversary rerelease of the band's 1994 debut album "Hitchhike to Rhome" doesn't do anything to answer that question. The good news is that the rerelease is a fun listen nonetheless.
The reissue comes with bonus demo recordings and cassette versions of the original release, just in case fans of the group didn't feel old enough realizing that its debut is two decades old (the »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk
When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: With or without band, Isbell satisfies
Usually, when an artist performs without his regular backing band, it becomes about mathematics of subtraction. That artist is armed with far fewer artistic weapons at his/her disposal, after all. In Jason Isbell's case, though, when he performed with just his wife and fiddler Amanda Shires, it was more about substitution than subtraction.... »»»
Concert Review: Grammy nominations aside, Yola, Kiah are the real deal
Grammy nominations do not make the artist, but Yola and opener Amythyst Kiah underscored time and again on this night that the honors were well deserved.
In fact, Yola and Kiah's other group, Our Native Daughters, are nominated in the same category - Best American Roots. Yola has three other nominations as well.
The clear winners... »»»
Follow Country Standard Time
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
When recording its album "Play the Hits," The Mavericks approached this covers album in much the same way the band creates any of its other studio albums. "Above all, we're always trying to reach a certain musical bar that we... »»»
The release of "Onward," his eighth studio album, finds veteran Texas Music/Red Dirt artist Stoney Larue at a crossroads. After almost two decades on the road, playing 200 shows a year across America and abroad, he has had success... »»»
Eleven years ago, Kelly stepped away from music. She had just finished touring on 2007's exquisite "Translated From Love" and felt the angst of being a travelling musician with family at home. At that point, Willis and her husband, musician/producer Bruce Robison,... »»»
For a brief moment last summer, the news of Tony Kinman's death was, if not greatly exaggerated, then at least fortuitously premature. The roots rock icon, known for his work in The Dils, Rank and File, Blackbird and Cowboy Nation with his younger brother Chip, had been diagnosed with cancer in March 2018,... »»»
The band name may suggest Appalachia and in some respects their sound does, but Lil Smokies hail from Montana, and deliver "Tornillo," their third release, which is named for the town where the studio for this release, Sonic Ranch, is located. »»»
Little Big Town gets billed as a country music vocal group, but "Nightfall" plays out more like a four-headed singer-songwriter effort. Many of these songs hearken back to some of the best '70s introspective songwriter efforts. »»»
Hawktail features some of the finest players of a generation in traditional American acoustic music. The product of their collaboration, "Formations," is a testament to the musical milieu in which they create. »»»
Fully Loaded: God's Country
Blake Shelton has been openly critical of the traditional album format. "Fully Loaded: God's Country" is his fourth greatest hits album and third in the "Loaded" series. In an effort to release music more often, he packages five new songs »»»
Hollywood may be pushing a broadminded agenda where there are more genders than one can even count, but in Jason Aldean's world, there are only two: tough guys, and the women that love them. There's no confusion »»»
Lady Antebellum may lean a little too closely to pop music for many tastes, but it's hard to argue with the trio's song choices. And its latest collection is filled with many memorable songs. The single "What If I Never Get Over You," »»»