Archive for 2012



“Four Leaf Clover” debuted on Hitchhike To Rhome, the first Old 97’s album. We made Hitchhike in about four days, which meant it was an absolute whirlwind. I had written “Four Leaf Clover” in the days leading up to that first session, and the band and Hitchhike’s producer, Alan Wooley, felt that even though we had only worked up a minimal arrangement, the song was too good to leave off the album. In the ensuing years of road work, “Four Leaf” grew into a massive rock song, light years beyond that humble first recording.

While putting together the songs that would become Too Far To Care, I was searching for a duet to record with my new friend, Exene Cervenka. I had started work on an old-fashioned duet that I thought we might sing, but Exene proclaimed it “too pretty.” That song later became “Fireflies.”

Exene listened to the rough mixes we had recorded in Tornillo, TX and chose “Four Leaf Clover.” We decided she would take the lead on the second verse, and Exene suggested a lyric re-write. Thus, “nothing to impress you” became “nothing to attract you.” Much sexier. That Exene has a way with words, all right.


Via Rolling Stone:

Rhett Miller was among the various musicians who came together to honor the late Johnny Cash April 20th in Austin, Texas, and with good reason: Miller named his band, the Old 97’s, after Cash’s version of the country classic “Wreck of the Old 97.” In this video, filmed at the performance, Miller tears through the song with the house band. Don’t miss the impressive round of guitar solos, the loose piano jam or the fun-loving spirit of everyone on stage.

Miller’s performance is part of the Blu-ray disc and CD/DVD set, We Walk The Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash. The set also features Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Shooter Jennings, Brandi Carlile and mores, and was released August 7th.

Read more>

From Rhett’s Facebook page:

“I’m totally excited for the Too Far To Care anniversary tour, but I must warn the starry-eyed lovebirds who have been writing me with requests for assistance in their wedding engagement… Old 97’s no longer stop down the rock show in order to focus on one couple in the audience who may or may not be getting engaged at that moment.
Nor do we host pre-show engagement parties.
I believe in love (as the song testifies), but I am not the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. I merely sing and shake my ass. That said, we will play “Question” every night on this tour. In fact, there is a good chance it will be the first song we play after “4 Leaf Clover” closes out the TFTC portion. And we will pedal through the chord progression a few times before the song kicks in. That would be a great time to screw up your courage, get down on one knee (mandatory), and dive into the bliss of matrimony.
Hooray for love.” -Rhett

To Far To Care Tour ~ Fall 2012


From late August through October, the Old 97’s will be on tour in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the release of Too Far To Care. Each show will feature the album performed live, start to finish, with a second set of even more old favorites. Openers will vary, but will include Those Darlins on some dates and Salim Nourallah on others, with a special solo opening set by Rhett himself at every show.

Too Far To Care was a magical moment for the 97’s. Starry-eyed and flush with confidence thanks to our brand-new deal with Elektra, we felt no fear, just giddy excitement. An adventurous producer and a world champion A&R guy shepherded us through the recording process. And when it was all over, we had captured our little bit of lightning in a bottle. I love Too Far To Care and can’t wait to play it in its entirety across the USA.” – Rhett


Omnivore Recordings will release special, 15th Anniversary Editions of Too Far To Care across various configurations (LP/CD/Digital) this fall. It will be the first time the album is available on vinyl. Details on these special anniversary editions and a wealth of new merch will be coming to very soon.


with Those Darlins supporting:

8/23 Houston, TX – House of Blues
8/24 Dallas, TX – House of Blues
8/25 San Antonio, TX – Sam’s Burger Joint
8/26 El Paso, TX – Tricky Falls
8/28 Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom
8/29 Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up Tavern
8/30 Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory
8/31 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre

9/1 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre
9/2 San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
9/4 Seattle, WA – The Showbox @ The Market
9/5 Vancouver, BC
9/6 Portland, OR – Roseland Theatre
9/7 Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
9/8 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
9/10 Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater
9/11 Omaha, NE – The Slowdown
9/12 Columbia, MO – The Blue Note

10/14 Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Festival

with Salim Nourallah supporting:

10/16 St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
10/17 Madison, WI – Capitol Theater
10/18 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
10/19 Chicago, IL – Vic Theatre
10/20 Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall
10/22 Boston, MA – Royale Night Club
10/23 New York, NY – Webster Hall
10/25 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
10/26 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
10/27 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
10/29 Nashville, TN – Cannery Ballroom


Reviews of TFTC for your reading pleasure

Allmusic review
“Serving as the ideal apex between the Old 97’s’ Texas twang and smart pop fascinations, Too Far to Care is instantly catchy and endearing, channeling heartbreaking desert soul and punk-fueled swagger all at the same time. Chief songwriter Rhett Miller turns a phrase like a doorknob and opens doors to dusty barrooms and tattered bedrooms, both containing the same boozy characters in various states of emotional undress. …”

People Magazine’s Picks and Pans 9-29-97

People mag cover

“Recorded on a Texas pecan farm, the major-label debut from these nutty but lovable Dallas country rockers is a winning blend of road-house rowdiness and lit. class humor. Roaring guitars and frenzied drumming propel the love story “Time-bomb,” while on the slightly more pensive “Barrier Reef,” 26-year-old lead singer Rhett Miller snarls, “What’s so Great about the Barrier Reef?/What’s so fine about art?” A little bit Waylon and a whole lot of wailin’, the go-for-broke intensity of the 13 cow-punk songs on Too Far to Care raises an intriguing question: Should listeners exuberantly mosh along or dance a speedy two-step instead? (Elektra)”

Old 97’s will join the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, The Black Keys, Jack White and dozens of other bands in this year’s Austin City Limits Festival, October 12-14.

The band has played the festival 3 times before, in 2003, 2004, and 2008.

Old 97's at 2003 ACL Fest

Old 97’s at 2003 ACL Fest
photo by Larry Kolvoord

The Old 97’s will be playing on Sunday, along with RHCP, The Avett Brothers, Iggy & the Stooges, The Civil Wars, among many others. Tickets are officially sold out, but there are places they can be found, especially closer to the date.

Rhett Miller’s new album The Dreamer is now available for pre-order at

Special fan-only bundles include the CD or LP version of the album, an exclusive limited edition silk-screened Rhett Miller & The Serial Lady Killers poster hand-numbered by Rhett, new T-shirt designs, buttons, stickers and more.

All orders are accompanied by an instant download of the Bob Clearmountain radio mix of Rhett’s song “Out of Love”, only available for download in the pre-order store.

Rhett is out on the road now:

05/15 – Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge *
05/16 – Knoxville, TN – The Square Room *
05/17 – Carborro, NC – The Arts Center *
05/19 – Addison, TX Addison Arts and Music Festival ^
06/04 – Vienna, VA – Jammin Java ^
06/05 – Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe ^
06/06 – Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe ^
06/07 – Hoboken, NJ – Maxwell’s ^
06/08 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom ^
06/09 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall ^
06/13 – Austin, TX – Blues On The Green (KGSR Free Show) ^
06/15 – San Diego, CA – The Casbah ^
06/16 – Hermosa Beach, CA – Sainte Rocke ^
06/17 – San Juan Capistrano, CA – The Coach House ^
06/18 – Los Angeles, CA – The Troubadour ^
06/19 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent ^
06/21 – Portland, OR – The Doug Fir ^
06/22 – Seattle, WA – Crocodile Cafe ^
07/11 – Dewey Beach, DE Bottle Cork ^
07/12 – Annapolis, MD Ramshead ^

* = Rhett Miller solo
^ = Rhett Miller and The Serial Lady Killers

Hi all, sorry for the delay in getting these out. We had tons of fantastic entries, but I can’t blame that. Just one of those perfect storms of life things.

Anyway, thanks so much to everyone who entered! It was a lot of fun reading through all these and debating with the powers that be.

The following are all the new entries that will be added to the Glossary page, with credits:

Boiler Room – Dive bar on Elm Street in Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood where Old 97’s began. (submitted by Greg Ziegler)

QUOTE: “I’ve been lightin’ matches in the Boiler Room…” – “Bel Air”

Buick City Complex – Refers to the General Motors manufacturing facility in Flint, Michigan, that was shuttered in 1999. A visit to the area inspired Rhett to imagine the adventures of a soon-to-be-unemployed man contemplating the status of his love life —and whether or not he can consummate that relationship—in the face of the plant’s imminent closing. (submitted by Clay Billman)

Was in the running to be a single from Satellite Rides but the idea was shot down by label folks who thought the title would confuse people. (-jefe)

QUOTE: “They’re tearing the Buick City Complex Down. I think we’re the only people left in town. Where are you gonna move? Where are you gonna move? Do you wanna mess around?” – “Buick City Complex”

Easy Way – From 1944 to 1985, the Easy Way Cafe was a beloved fixture of the Dallas BBQ scene: down-home hospitality, lip-smacking barbecue, and vintage jukeboxes stationed table-side.  The cafe is long-gone, but still fondly remembered by our favorite band. (submitted by David Welsh)

QUOTE:  “One buck in the jukebox gets you two…meet me at the Easy Way” – “Easy Way”

Heisman – The trophy awarded annually to college football’s top player, the “Heisman” is a stiff-arm pose imitating the well-known statue. Referenced in the original version of “Won’t Be Home No More” when the protagonist “helps” his ex-girlfriend out of his car during a rather spirited break-up. The recorded version found on Drag It Up replaced “Heisman” with “pavement.” (submitted by Clay Billman)

QUOTE: “I’m pulling off the road, I’m opening the door. I’m giving you the Heisman, I’m telling you what for…” – “WoBeHoNoMo”

Holy Cross Electric Association – A rural utility co-op that derives its name from a unique geologic feature on a majestic Rocky Mountain peak that resembles a white cross when covered in snow. Located near Minturn, Colorado, the Mount of the Holy Cross is the northernmost 14,000-ft. peak in the Sawatch Range. The company changed its name to Holy Cross Energy in 1998.

The song (one of Rhett’s Mom’s favorites) tells the tragic story of a Holy Cross employee who died in a head-on crash. Recorded in the Too Far To Care sessions, it first appeared on a Summer Break Records compilation CD called Sunny Teriyaki Hamburger Breakfast in 2003. The accident left at least one man dead and one thermos homeless. (submitted by Clay Billman)

QUOTE: “Holy Cross Electric Association. Oh, it’s more than a job. It’s more like a damnation.” – “Holy Cross”

“I Won’t Be Home No More” – 1953 posthumous hit by Hank Williams, Sr. Starts with the brilliant line “Well, you’re just in time to be too late” and just gets better from there. (submitted by Sandi Kennedy)

Quote: “And the very first song that the radio sang was ‘I Won’t Be Home No More’…” – “WoBeHoNoMo”

Ol’ Dan – Popular name for a horse prevalent in western lore, literature, music and movies. The moniker “Ol’ Dan” stems from traditional folk ballads of the 1800’s, which were brought from the campfire to the mainstream by Tex Ritter’s “A-Ridin’ Old Paint” from 1933 (“I Ride an Old Paint” as Roy Rogers, Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash, Pete Seeger and many others recorded it) and featured in his 1937 movie “Mystery of the Hooded Horseman.”

I ride an old paint, I lead an old dan

I’m goin’ to Montana to throw the hoolihan

They feed in the coulees, they water in the draw

Their tails are all matted, their backs are all raw

The horse is perhaps most famously found in Bob Nolan’s “Cool Water” (performed by his Sons of the Pioneers in 1936, along with Hank Williams, Marty Robbins and scores of artists to follow).

The name is also immortalized in vintage “Old Dan” cigar labels featuring an illustrated horse. Not surprisingly, generations of equine lovers have grown up riding horses of that popular name. (submitted by Clay Billman)

QUOTE: “Scorpio’s up, a leadin’ ol’ Dan to pasture…” – “Color of a Lonely Heart is Blue”

Paco and Flaco – Pseudonyms of Rhett Miller (Paco) and Murry Hammond (Flaco) when performing under the stage name “The Ranchero Brothers.” Often accompanied by witty repartee by Rhett Miller that “he is Paco…or am I Flaco?” when introducing himself and Murry. (submitted by John Vrsalovich)

Pickwood Bowl – A bowling facility located in Burbank, CA. Hence, the bowling reference of knock nine (bowling pins) down and leave one in the hole (standing). Almost a strike, but just falling short of the mark… not performing to desired expectations. (submitted by Jeff Sargen)

QUOTE: “Do you want to meet up at the Pickwood Bowl? We could knock nine down and leave one in the hole.” – “Rollerskate Skinny”

Marble Falls – One of many Texas towns name-checked by the Old 97’s, this little burg of 7,000+ is located in the Texas Hill Country northwest of Austin.  We’ll never know if the mayor’s daughter was a fan of prescription pharmaceuticals, but we are grateful for her memorable appearance in “Valium Waltz.” (submitted by David Welsh)

QUOTE: “And it’s written all over the face of the daughter of the mayor of Marble Falls…” – “Valium Waltz”

Marquita – Instrumental initiated by Ken, recorded for The Grand Theatre Vol. 2. “Oh yeah, why is it called “Marquita?” It’s the name of the street where I met Rhett and Murry and we started the band. We lived in a brownstone called Marquita Courts. Murry and I were “fronties” and Rhett was a “backie.” We fronties considered ourselves a bit more sophisticated than the backies. We drank martinis, listened to jazz and paid our bills on time. The backies stayed up all night eating cereal, playing Genesis Hockey and smoking. It was a great place and time to start a band.” – Ken Bethea (2011) (submitted by Julie Strehle)

The One – Highway 1 runs along much of the California coastline and boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in all of America. The jaw-dropping vistas of spectacularly steep cliffs crashing into fog-shrouded surf would be the perfect backdrop for a victory lap after signing your first major-label contract with visions of rock-and-roll stardom dancing in your heads! (submitted by David Welsh)

QUOTE: “Take the money and run, but what’s the rush… let’s take The One” – “The One”

Wuzza – Setlist abbreviation for fan-favorite, yet seldom played “If My Heart Was A Car” from Hitchhike to Rhome. Served as show closer during the band’s very early days before “Timebomb.” According to Ken Bethea,“Wuzza” closed the band’s first out-of-Dallas experience at a show in Denton, sparking a raucous dancing frenzy of college students that gave the 97’s cause to believe there might be a future beyond Big D. (submitted by Greg Ziegler)

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Vote for your favorite in the comments section, and the person who submitted the post with the most support will get the bottle of Old 97’s beer!

Pacific Standard Time is an EP put together by Esquire magazine to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Music That Matters: The Third Annual Esquire Songwriting Challenge

Long before the festival lines began to form, we boarded a tour bus with five stars from across the iTunes spectrum and headed to California’s Coachella Valley. Once there and dressed in the season’s sharpest suiting, they took up our challenge: write and record an original song inspired by the phrase Pacific Standard Time.

You can buy Rhett’s song on iTunes.

John Singer Sergeant (The Music and Songs of John Dufilho) is out today and worth checking out. In case you don’t know, John is the lead singer of both the Deathray Davies and I Love Math (which features a certain drummer you might recognize). This new release features a ton of great collaborators, including our own Rhett Miller on one track. Don’t miss it!