Old 97’s – The Grand Theatre Volume One

January 01, 1970

(New West)





Have the Old 97’s gone glam? If the initial tracks off their
effusive new album are any indication, that prognosis certainly falls within
the realm of possibility. While earlier albums found them establishing their
own variation on the roots rock franchise, The
Grand Theatre Volume One
suggests they now have more rambunctious intents
in mind. That rowdy triple threat that commences the proceedings – “The Grand
Theatre,” “Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)” and “The Magician” soar
on rapid-fire rhythms and double-time tempos, as well as a fuck-all attitude
that suggests they’re ready and willing to throw caution to the wind. On the
other hand, when they opt to revisit their Americana origins, they do so with a
stern reverence that hews to traditional revelry. The brassy narrative, “You
Were Born To Be In Battle” likely wouldn’t sound out of place in the Marty
Robbins songbook, while the surprisingly somber “Let the Whiskey Take the
Reins” gives a aural nod to Sergio Leone’s foreign-made westerns, the kind that
once found Clint Eastwood with a poncho over his shoulder and a glint in his


Mainly though, The
Grand Theatre Volume One
offers up the sort of unabashed exuberance that
the Dallas-based band have hinted at throughout their lengthy tenure at the top
of the country rock hierarchy. Although they reference divergent realms,
“Champaign Illinois” and “A State of Texas” smack of the insurgency of their
early cow punk past, each song an irreverent ode to destinations boasting
varying degrees of desirability.  Brassy,
ballsy, bold and defiant, the Old 97’s offer proof they’re still young guns at

DOWNLOAD: “The Grand Theatre,”
“Champaign Illinois,” “You Smoke too Much” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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