Black Music Matters Festival

Old 97's

Wreck Your Life – 1996 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Eric Zehnbauer

These boys from Texas prove themselves to be one of the brightest lights in the alternative-country sky with this latest CD. If this were a vinyl LP, this reviewer's copy would've long ago had the grooves worn through on the number one album release of 1995. Marked by Rhett Miller's superb songwriting and equally excellent vocal work from Miller and bassist Murray Hammond, this album never disappoints. From lead guitarist Ken Bethea's opening chords at the intro to "Victoria" to the last note of the closer, "Going Going Gone," this band proves why the Dallas Observer just recently voted them the best country band in Dallas for 1995. Besides their own tunes, the 97's perform a raucous cover of "Over the Cliff," by Jon (Mekons) Langford and a version of "You Belong to My Heart," made popular by Bing Crosby in the 1940s, that would have Der Bingle spinning in his grave! There's also a revved-up version of the bluegrass chestnut, "My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darlin'," and a lovely mid-tempo ballad, "Old Familiar Steam," featuring a guest appearance by Don Walser. A must-buy!