Old 97's - Graveyard Whistle
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Graveyard Whistle (ATO, 2017)

Old 97's

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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 true Miller fashion. He's "The Cooler" (William H. Macy's memorable role in that casino movie of the same name) of love. God also plays a part in the lyrics to this full-length, lending a hand personally as Brandi Carlisle (in the challenging role of The Almighty) speaks to Miller in "Good With God." "Jesus Loves You" finds Miller challenging Jesus for the affections of a girl.

Strong drink, one of the devil's favorite tools, also finds its way into this 11-song collection. "Irish Whiskey Pretty Girls" races along nicely, like a Celtic-ly Pogues-ish drinking song. "Drinkin' Song" rocks even harder, as it exchanges Irish acoustics for a punk rock electric guitar roar.

Miller returns to the bad Match.com profile persona of "Bad Luck Charm" by admitting, "It turns out I'm a troubled guy" during "Turns Out I'm Trouble." Yet, the more Miller puts himself down, the more we love him. Perhaps it's his honesty that makes us believe he's merely exaggerating his faults. Nobody this sweet could ever be bad luck, let alone trouble, right? He may not have a chance in heaven or hell when competing against Jesus, but there's always a place in a girl's heart for lovable losers like Miller.

CDs by Old 97's

Twelfth, 2020 Love the Holidays, 2018 Graveyard Whistle, 2017 Hitchhike to Rhome: 20th Anniversary Reissue, 2014 The Grand Theatre Volume One, 2010 Wreck Your Life ...And Then Some: The Complete Bloodshot Recordings [Limited Edition], 2009 Blame It On Gravity, 2008 Hit By A Train: The Best Of Old 97's, 2006

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