Wednesday, March 11, 2009
– Old 97's front man Rhett Miller will release a collection of new songs on June 9, his fourth solo album and the first on Shout! Factory. The self-titled album is the darkest of Miller's release, according to the label.
"My approach to songwriting has always been to take a heavy subject and put it to a bouncy tune. This record takes that trick to the next level." Miller said. "Don't get me wrong, there are some rays of sunshine on the album, but there is a lot of deep night."
"The death of my grandmother, the suicide of my hero, David Foster Wallace. In my head, I was sort of in a dark place when I made this record." Laughing, he said, "It's still a fun record to listen to. It's a fine line you gotta walk, right?"
Miller penned all the songs on the record with the exception of If It's Not Love, which was co-written with Matt Scannell. "Rhett Miller" was produced by Salim Nourallah, who also produced the latest Old 97's release, 2008's "Blame It On Gravity."
The 12-song set also features multi-instrumentalist and producer, Jon Brion on guitar and bass, The Apples In Stereo's John Dufilho on drums and Billy Harvey on guitar.
Of the album's most rocking track, Miller says, "Happy Birthday Don't Die came to me in a fevered rush the morning before I headed to Texas to make the record. The whole story was there in my head when I woke up. This weird sci-fi portrait of a little old lady buried in the catacombs of some colony planet celebrating her 100th birthday by dying. Writing that song was like speaking in tongues, very strange."
"Sometimes came out of hearing my two-year-old daughter singing to herself in her crib one morning. I took her little tune and fleshed it out into first a chorus and then a whole song."
While maintaining his career with the Old 97's, Austin-born Rhett Miller has also released three previous solo albums, "Mythologies," recorded during his junior year in high school and produced by future Old 97's co-founder, Murry Hammond, in 1989, 2002's "The Instigator" and "The Believer" in 2006. While based in Dallas, Miller and Hammond formed Old 97's in 1993. With their effortless combination of rock, power-pop and country, the band became a key player on the alt.-country scene. They have released seven studio albums to date.
Songs on Miller's CD are:
1. Nobody Says I Love You Anymore
2. Like Love
4. I Need to Know Where I Stand
5. Happy Birthday Don't Die
8. If It's Not Love
9. Another Girlfriend
10. Refusing Temptation
Miller and the Old 97's will be on tour throughout the summer and fall. Many of these shows will be billed as "An Evening With...," and will feature an opening solo set by Miller during which he will perform songs from the new album and favorites from his solo catalog.
Upcoming shows are:
March 11 - New York, Carnegie Hall (R.E.M. Tribute Performance w/ Patti Smith, Glenn Hansard, Calexico and more.)
March 24 - Solana Beach, CA Belly Up
March 26 - Los Angeles, Largo
March 27 - Redondo Beach, CA Brixton South Bay
March 28 - Santa Cruz, CA Crepe Place
March 29 - San Francisco, Yoshi's
April 11 - Ithaca, NY Castaways
April 16 - New York, Le Poisson Rouge
May 1 - Red Bank, NJ Count Basie Theatre - Writers in the Raw w/ David Johansen of the New York Dolls, Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and others.
May 13 - Northampton, MA Iron Horse
May 14 - Boston, The Paradise