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Old 97's

Rhett Miller's solo project (not an image of the Old 97's) Photo: Dina Regine
Background information
Origin Dallas, Texas, USA
Genres Alt-country
Roots rock
Years active 1993–present
Labels Big Iron
New West
Associated acts Sleepy Heroes
Ranchero Brothers
Rhett Miller
Rhett Miller
Murry Hammond
Ken Bethea
Philip Peeples

The Old 97's is an alternative country band from Dallas, Texas. Formed in 1993[1], they have since released seven studio albums and one live album, their most recent being Blame It on Gravity. They are recognized as pioneers of the alt-country movement during the mid to late 1990s along with bands such as Uncle Tupelo, Drive-By Truckers, Whiskeytown, The Jayhawks, and The Bottle Rockets.



Initially a popular Dallas bar band, the Old 97's toured the country after releasing their first album, 1994's Hitchhike To Rhome and 1995's split EP release Stoned / Garage Sale with fellow Dallas band Funland on Idol Records. In Chicago, they caught the attention of Bloodshot Records and were signed to record their next album. 1996's Wreck Your Life, now lauded by many fans as the band's best work, brought them to the attention of Elektra Records[1], who hoped that alt-country could be a new post-grunge fad. Lead singer Rhett Miller, born in Austin, later lived in New York City and Los Angeles. Many of the band's songs include local Texas references, with New York City and Los Angeles appearing as well.

Most songs are written and sung by Miller, with bassist Murry Hammond picking up the vocals on one or two tracks per album. Hammond also handled a number of country covers, especially in the band's earlier years. Hammond also performs gospel at his local church. The band's 2004 album Drag It Up also includes a song written and sung by guitarist Ken Bethea, "Coahuila."

The band has never reached the level of success expected of them by the music press and was one of the acts purged from Elektra after the merger of Time Warner and America Online. In 2005, Blender magazine ranked the band's most successful single, 1999's "Murder (Or A Heart Attack)", as the 176th greatest song "since you were born",[2] However, more recently, their music has been featured in a number of hit movies and TV series, including The Break-Up ("Salome", "Melt Show", "Timebomb"), Ed (TV series) ("Question"), ("King of All the World"), Scrubs ("Question"), and Veronica Mars ("Adelaide", "Four-Leaf Clover").[3]

Rhett Miller has recorded four solo albums, with 2002's The Instigator receiving substantial airplay on alternative-oriented radio stations. He toured with Neil Finn in 2004. Miller's second major commercial album, The Believer, was released in February 2006.[4] Murry Hammond's solo album, I Don't Know Where I'm Going But I'm on My Way, was released April 21, 2008.

The Old 97's have been heralded as a great live band, although they claim never to rehearse their act.[5] They included five live songs as a bonus disc on Satellite Rides, and released a live double CD set recorded at historic Gruene Hall in 2005, Alive and Wired.

Rhino Entertainment released Hit by a Train: The Best of Old 97's, an eighteen track compilation of songs from the band's beginnings through 2001, featuring liner notes and an essay by Robert Christgau.

Satellite Riders is an Old 97's tribute band.[6]

The recording of "Timebomb" from the live album Alive and Wired was made available for download along with other alt-country songs for the music video games Rock Band and Rock Band 2.[7]





External links

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