Old 97’s Rhett Miller w/New Solo LP

 

It’s a fine line you gotta walk indeed!

 

 

By
Blurt Staff

 

 

Old
97’s front man Rhett Miller will release a collection of new songs on June 9th,
his fourth solo album and the first on Shout! Factory.  The self-titled
album is described as “an up-close and personal journey through Miller’s dark
heart and complicated mind – all set to the kind of rollicking tunes for which
he’s known… the darkest of Miller’s deep catalog of releases, and is a personal
triumph both lyrically and sonically.”

 

 

“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
says.  “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. [But] 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 critically acclaimed 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.  While the album was initially planned as a
stripped-down, acoustic record, with the help of his stellar backing band, it
quickly turned into one of huge sonic scope.

 

 

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 one-hundredth birthday by dying.  Writing that song
was like speaking in tongues, very strange.”  Not all the songs on the
album are so far-flung, “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.” 

 

 

Elsewhere
on the album, one finds the quirky details that are a hallmark of Miller’s
songwriting.  The “comedy club” in “I Need To Know Where I Stand” sounds suspiciously
similar to LA’s famed Café Largo where Miller has played regularly over the
years.  In the same song, we find “the Hamlet of Wallkill,” a town in the Hudson Valley
near where the song’s author resides.  But it’s the simple statements of
grand truths that set this album apart from Miller’s earlier work.  Take,
for instance, the following line from “Like Love.”  “We are all alone in
this world/from cradle to grave/and maybe after that.”  A bitter little
sentiment, but dropped into the middle of a fun, foot-stomper of a song, it’s a
testament to the years Rhett Miller has  spent honing his craft. 

 

 

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 quickly became one of the
most acclaimed and beloved bands to spring from the 90s indie rock scene. 
They have released seven studio albums to date.

 

 

Well-known
as an explosive live act both solo and with the band, 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. 

 

 

Track Listing:

 

 

1.
Nobody Says I Love You Anymore

2.
Like Love

3.
Caroline

4.
I Need to Know Where I Stand

5.
Happy Birthday Don’t Die

6.
Bonfire

7.
Haphazardly

8.
If It’s Not Love

9.
Another Girlfriend

10.
Refusing Temptation

11.
Lashes

12.
Sometimes

 

 

Tour Dates:

 

 

March
11th – New York,
NY Carnegie Hall (R.E.M. Tribute
Performance w/ Patti Smith, Glenn

           
        Hansard, Calexico and more.)

March
24th – Solana Beach,
CA Belly Up

March
26th – Los Angeles, CA
Largo

March
27th – Redondo Beach, CA Brixton
South Bay

March
28th – Santa Cruz,
CA Crepe Place

March
29th – San Francisco,
CA Yoshi’s

April
11th – Ithaca, NY Castaways

April
16th – New York,
NY Le Poisson Rouge

May
1st – 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
13th – Northampton,
MA Iron Horse

May
14th – Boston, MA The Paradise

 

 

[Photo
Credit: Jason Janick]

 

 

 

 

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