Archive for August, 2008

FYI for all y’all Bumbershooters from today’s Seattle Times:

Satellite Riders, an Old 97’s tribute band out of Mineral Wells, Texas, plays the Tractor on Sunday, Aug. 31 at 9 p.m. Those who have seen both bands have said that the Riders sound exactly like the Old 97’s, and even resemble them to an astonishing degree. A really, truly astonishing degree.

If you’re not up to braving the crowds that will surely throng the Old 97’s Bumbershoot appearance this Monday, the Satellite Riders have got your number. (Hint: It’s three short of a hundred.) Acclaimed local band Downpilot opens.

So there you go.

The Seattle Weekly gets it too!

Not surprisingly, since so few people know the Riders, compared to the Old 97’s, at last check there were still a few tickets available! So be there or be… well, you know.

In other 97’s news:

Blame It On Gravity: One of the finest albums of the year.

Too Far Too Care: one of the great albums of the 90’s.

Murry’s “got a way of singing about God and trains that could move an atheist with a deep-seated fear of locomotives.”

Who says Old 97’s shows aren’t all-ages?

And from the vaults: A newly reissued review of a 1998 97’s show. My take: You get more for your money these days!

Happy Labor Day, y’all! – frank

Biog on nprs atc

August 20, 2008

If you’re driving home today, don’t miss Robert Christgau’s review of Blame It On Gravity on today’s All Things Considered, on your local NPR station. Of course if you’re reading this, you’d better not be driving anywhere, though you can also listen here. The short recap: “They’ve just put out their best album in seven years. Blame It On Gravity is noticeably more taut and focused than their earlier albums — more delicate, too.” It was Christgau, the “Dean of American Rock Critics,” who wrote those great liner notes for the 2006 best-of comp, Hit By A Train: The Best of Old 97’s, and if those notes, in their looking back, reflected his uncertainty on the future of the band, today’s review does not.

In other news, Murry continue to garner great press and notices for his new release I Don’t Know Where I’m Going But I’m On My Way.

And finally, that October 24 Old 97’s bill with R.E.M. marks R.E.M.’s first show back in the US after a months-long European swing in support of Accelerate and tickets go on sale this Friday, August 22 at 10am ET. Be there or… miss my all-time fantasy bill of music! – frank

Y’all remember the Satellite Riders, doncha? These guys are, hands down, the finest Old 97’s tribute band in America. Heck, they may be the only Old 97’s tribute band in America.

The Riders have been playing, under a number of names, mainly around North Texas for nearly as long as the Old 97’s, but laying low since May 2003, when they blew the roof off Dallas’ Sons of Hermann Hall.

But now these four old buds from Mineral Wells, Texas, are back, and they’re hitting the road, heading to Seattle for an 8/31 show at the intimate Tractor Tavern. They’re calling it their “’68 Comeback Special,” and if you’ve ever seen the Riders live, you know they not only look a bit like Ken, Murry, Rhett, and Philip, more importantly, these guys belt out an Old 97’s show like no one else, save the 97’s themselves. As their website says:

If you always wondered what it like to see the Old 97’s in their Bloodshot (or Big Iron) days, before fame and fortune, and music promoters whisked them into the bigtime, well here’s your chance!

Back to the 97’s; outside of their solo works, y’all are probably already familiar with the other Old 97’s side projects, including the Ranchero Brothers (Murry & Rhett), The Scrap Hotel (Ken & Philip), and the West Texas Teardrops (Ken, Murry, and Philip). But now the West Texas Teardrops have their own side project, one that allows them to more fully explore their “icy vision of the future.” Calling themselves Dadist Dream Believer, the guys recorded their own self-released CD during the recent 97’s hiatus, entitled Ba Be Bi Ba Boop. Taking their cue from the icy, early German techno pioneers like Kraftwerk, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Trio; Philip, Ken, and Murry even took time to self-produce a video, and the folks at have all the goods.

And speaking of videos, Rhett recently sat down and recorded not just a theme-song for blogger Oscar Wednesday, but also left The O.W. with a lovely kitchen-table video for “Bonfire” and, if you scroll down to the June 25th entry, for “No Baby I” as well. Then, sandwiched in between are “11 Questions with Murry Hammond.” Not bad Señor Miércoles, not bad at all.

Apropos of almost nothing, Washington DC loves it some Old 97’s. Seriously. But those NY, NY papers still seem somewhat confused. While a lovely NY Times review of BIOG correctly lists Dallas as the band’s hometown, their concert listing names Austin. Meanwhile, the NY Post, in a review of CUIL, a new search engine competitor to Google, seems mystified that the top result for the term “A Train” (ahem 😉 leads to a, “site for a band called Old 97’s, which brags about its VH-1 fame.” Parochial, are we?

Not parochial is Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air, and her July 17 interview with Rhett is one of the best of its sort you’ll ever hear. Don’t miss it!

Also, don’t miss the Tour Dates page where we’ve got most of the next leg of the Blame It On Gravity tour posted, along with several new Murry Hammond and Rhett Miller tour dates, with more to come soon! Also up we’ve got some great new reviews of other recent 97’s shows here, here, here, and a bunch-o-new BIOG reviews and features on the HBAT “Gravity” page.

I think that’s all for now. Murry’s promised to forward three additional solo show-dates, and you know we’ll have more soon. So check back and Cheers! – frank