Old 97's returns with their 12th album, "Twelfth,"on Aug. 21 on ATO Records.
Twenty-seven years in, Old 97's still features its original lineup - lead singer Rhett Miller, guitarist Ken Bethea, bassist Murry Hammond and drummer Philip Peeples.
The album's cover image of former Dallas Cowboys star quarterback Roger Staubach, an homage to Miller's childhood hero and a recognition that, in making their livings as musicians, the 97's themselves have achieved their lifelong dreams.
""We experienced some close calls over the last few years," said Miller, "and I think that led us to this dawning realization of the fragility of it all. At the same time, it also led us to this increased gratitude for the music and the brotherhood we've been so lucky to share. I think all of that combined to make recording this album one of the most intensely joyful experiences we've ever had as a band."
"You have to take pride in the unlikeliness of it all," said Miller. "It's mind boggling to think that we've been able to last this long, that we've been able to support ourselves and our families on our own terms for almost 30 years. Twelve is a lot of records."
The first single, "Turn Off The TV," is out today alongside a video directed by Liam Lynch that features Puddles the Clown as well as footage of the band throughout their career.
The track list is:
1. The Dropouts
2. This House Got Ghosts
3. Turn Off The TV
4. I Like You Better
5. Happy Hour
6. Belmont Hotel
7. Confessional Boxing
8. Diamonds on Neptune
9. Our Year
10. Bottle Rocket Baby
11. Absence (What We've Got)
12. Why Don't We Ever Say We're Sorry
Miller penned everything on "Twelfth" himself, except the Spaghetti Western-esque "Happy Hour" and closer "Why Don't We Ever Say We're Sorry," which were both written and sung by Hammond.
Working out of Sputnik Sound in Nashville, the band teamed up once again with GRAMMY-winning producer Vance Powell (Chris Stapleton, Jack White).
"Love the Holidays" may read like one of those old timey Christmas album titles. You know, those sanitized, safe for the whole family song sets. Granted, there's nothing particularly family unfriendly on this seasonal collection; however, it's still a fairly typical Old 97's album. Vocalist Rhett Miller is just too angsty to ever make completely overjoyed, celebratory music. This album is typical Old 97's music, in the best sense of the term.
"Christmas Is »»»
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 »»»
Are the Old 97's country? Zydeco? Irish pub rock? Blues?
The bad news is that the 20th anniversary rerelease of the band's 1994 debut album "Hitchhike to Rhome" doesn't do anything to answer that question. The good news is that the rerelease is a fun listen nonetheless.
The reissue comes with bonus demo recordings and cassette versions of the original release, just in case fans of the group didn't feel old enough realizing that its debut is two decades old (the »»»