Howdy gang! First up, even if yer webmaster hasn’t been of late, your Old 97’s remain ridiculously prolific, waxing tracks to keep piping fresh pop product on your shelves. Up next: At the behest of Tom DeSavia, once the Old 97’s A&R rep at Elektra and now of Notable Music, Rhett Miller hit the studio with producer Salim Nourallah to cover Bobby Hebb’s 1966 classic, “Sunny.” Named by music publisher BMI as #25 in the Top 100 Songs of the [20th] Century, “Sunny” has been covered by the likes of Frank Sinatra with Duke Ellington, Cher, Johnny Rivers, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli, The Four Tops, Wilson Pickett, Dusty Springfield, James Brown, and now in what may be its first-ever cover by a rock artist, by Rhett.

It should be on finer digital store shelves everywhere (emusic, iTunes, Amazon, etc.) any day now, but for now I may have a little leak of a surprise for the first caller 😉

Also, I recently received a link to an in-progress documentary about the Carter Family, called The Winding Stream: The Carters, the Cashes and the Course of Country Music. Check out the link, and make sure you have Java enabled and your sound turned up. You may recognize the singer. Wow, can’t wait!

In other news, for those of you who missed the NYE-week “An Evening with Old 97’s” shows at Dallas’ Sons of Hermann Hall, well… Psych! Those were some great, great gigs, but ones for which we may someday all get a souvenir. Plus, rumor has the 97’s in the studio, or at least headed that way in the coming days, to deck their next record. Stand by for more soon.

Also, in upcoming tour news, the Old 97’s gigs-o-the-year so far look like this:

Feb 25: Winstar Casino – Thackerville, OK
Feb 26: Wormy Dog Saloon – Oklahoma City
Feb 27: Cain’s Ballroom – Tulsa
Apr 09: Fair Park – Dallas
Apr 10: House of Blues – Houston
Jul 03: Oak Canyon Ranch – Silverado, CA

And Rhett’s solo shows are shaping up thusly (note the full band gigs with “The Serial Lady Killers” who are reportedly the crackerjack “Believers” from Rhett’s 2007 solo shows):

Feb 03: Belly Up w/The Serial Lady Killers – Solana Beach, CA
Feb 04: The Galaxy w/The Serial Lady Killers – Santa Ana, CA
Feb 05: The Troubadour w/The Serial Lady Killers – El Lay, CA
Feb 06: The Independent w/The Serial Lady Killers – San Francisco
Mar 05: Shank Hall – Milwaukee
Mar 20: City Winery – NY, NY
Mar 25: Narrows Center – Fall River, MA
Mar 26: Stone Mountain Arts Center – Brownfield, ME
Mar 27: Regattabar – Cambridge, MA
Apr 02: John & Peters – New Hope, PA
Apr 03: Rams Head Tavern – Annapolis, MD

And just as soon as I can get another hour of free time, I’ll add these to the Tour Dates page proper. I know, don’t look, I haven’t updated it since the Bush Administration and owe you an explanation: The main reason for my slackness here is that for the past year and a half or so, in addition to the regular job, I’ve be fightin’ the man as a union organizer and officer. Yeah, I know, I’m a usually a Republican, so don’t hate me on either account. In any event, my term in office is up on March 1, so join me won’t you, in a toast, as I drink to having a life again? I’m told it’s fun 😉 Cheers! – frank

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