Hey y’all this is Jefe, Old 97’s web guy, breaking the 4th wall for a minute. In case you haven’t heard, I’m spearheading the creation of an album of Old 97’s covers to benefit It’s currently being funded on PledgeMusic and we have to hit 100% in the next 2 months for it to happen.

The minimum pledge is $10 for an Access Pass, which gets you the full digital download when it’s ready, along with access to behind-the-scenes studio info as it happens, and maybe an exclusive track or two as well.

The album is a benefit for charity: water, an amazing non-profit organization that’s working to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Check them out:

Desperate Times will feature Old 97’s songs performed by some amazing artists, including:

Hayes Carll

Ben Kweller

Polyphonic Spree

Kelly Willis (Rollerskate Skinny!)

Monte Warden (The Wagoneers) & Chip Kinman (Rank & File)


Those Darlins

The Deathray Davies (Valentine!)

Occasional Milkshake

The Travoltas

The O’s

Western Star

…and maybe even more when it’s all said and done. It’s going to be mixed by John Dufhilo and will be ready to press before the end of the year.

We’re currently revealing what songs are being covered one at a time, in posts only visible to pledgers. Number three comes out today.

I hope you’re join us for this very cool project. Please, tell your friends, share on your socials, and check back often as we work to make a difference—and make a really cool album, too.

After lighting up the midwest on a successful short Old 97’s run, Rhett continued his tour in support of his stellar MMU companion solo effort, The Traveler.


Starting briefly in his beloved Texas, the bulk of his latest run was a jaunt from Seattle to Hermosa Beach, accompanied by the lovely, angelic-voiced Annalisa Tornfelt. She joined Rhett on stage for a handful of songs from The Traveler, as well as Old 97’s tunes. Her virtuosity and backing vocals brought to life the tracks from the new album, and added a new layer to old classics.


Along the way, our favorite frontman did a fair number of interviews, radio stops, and podcasts. Here are a few highlights starting with Texas.
Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 6.22.52 PM
Rhett commandeered the airwaves of Austin’s My KUTX for an hour to share a dozen of his favorite songs.

KXT’s Paul Slavens and Rhett

He stopped by KXT Live Sessions to chat up, reminisce and perform a couple of songs for old friend and Travoltas member, Paul Slavens. Rising star Madison King joined in to sing her sweet duet she wrote with Rhett, Feel Like Falling In Love.
Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 6.34.40 PM

Madison King and Rhett at KXT

Before heading to the West Coast, Mr. Miller hooked up with The Ticket’s zany morning team, Bob and Dave at Eatzi’s in Grapevine to perpetrate a little BaD shenanigans on unsuspecting female customers. Hilarity ensues. But seriously, what girl WOULDN’T want the lead singer of Old 97’s to make up a song featuring her name, no matter how ridiculous? Zero.
Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 6.41.24 PM

roaming the market without a hall pass

In Portland, our wordsmith wowed the collective gathered in the intimate studios of Kink FM’s Skype studios with spirited performances of new songs, old songs and insight into his collaboration with local favorites, Black Prairie. Video of the interview and performance are here, here, here, here, here and here.
Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 6.30.23 PM

Rhett at KINK FM Skype Studios in Portland

In LA, KCSN host Sky Daniels and Rhett discuss all-things The Traveler and then some. Among “then some” is an interesting discussion concerning the Texas meaning of ordering a “coke”. Annalisa Tornfelt joins in on fiddle and backing vocals, kicking it up a notch on Wanderlust.
Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 5.41.43 PM

with Annalisa Tornfelt (photo courtesy of Laura Smith)

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 5.39.19 PM

photo courtesy of Laura Smith

But wait! There’s more…
Despite two glaring mistakes in the headline, Chilled Magazine published a fun interview with Rhett. Curious how he spends downtime, his favorite foods or which libations are stocked in his poolside Tiki bar (he has a Tiki bar??!?), read on.
Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 5.40.59 PM
How do you feel about Michael Bublé? Do you hate his voice, song-stylings or that stupid accent mark on the é? Well, read why Rhett takes issue with the Canadian crooner in A.V. Club’s Hatesong feature here.
Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 5.38.56 PM

photo courtesy of Laura Smith

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 5.45.00 PM

Jon Neufeld and Rhett

Recorded shortly after The Traveler’s release, Rhett made his home turf one of the first stops on his presser rounds. Here he is at Woodstock Radio.

On a sunny afternoon in the Boston area, Joan Holliday of The River and Mr. Miller discuss Peter Buck, reincarnation and lay bare his psyche on my new favorite game, Either/Or.
Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 5.19.33 PM

Judy Holliday of the River and Rhett basking in the New England sun

The Master of the Interview, Rhett gets comfortable and opens up to The Alt in Our Stars podcast host, Chris Payne about a number of topics including a tale or two about Third Eye Blind. The entire hour makes for an exceedingly entertaining conversation.
Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 5.38.18 PM

photo courtesy of Laura Smith

And finally, if you haven’t done so already, do yourself a favor and check out One Week, One Band. Guest author, Daniel Couch wrote an extensive 24-part series of posts mined from multiple sources, including this very website.
 Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 5.39.50 PM
The Hardest Working Rocker in the biz is on a well-deserved family vacation. But never fear, he will be out and about again this week at the sold out Barefoot at the Belmont and a July 4th band gig at the Twilite Lounge. Then our favorite foursome embark on a long-awaited European mini tour.
Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 6.08.58 PM

photo courtesy of Laura Smith

Thank Jehovah he loves what he does. I think I can safely speak for us all when I say we love what he does, too.
See you on the road!!

We’ll be adding these to the event calendar over the next day or so, but in the meantime here’s a complete list of upcoming shows:

July 9 – Valencia, Spain – LOCO CLUB
July 10 – Riaza, Spain – HUERCASA FESTIVAL
July 12 – London, UK – The Borderline
July 14 – Bilbao, Spain – CAFE ANTZOKIA
July 18 – New Braunfels, TX – WhiteWater Amphitheater

August 8 – San Antonio, TX – Lone Star Beer TX Heritage Series – Lone Star Brewery
August 15 – Houston, TX – Lone Star Beer TX Heritage Series – Silver Street Studios
August 22 – Dallas, TX – Lone Star Beer TX Heritage Series – Gilley’s
August 29 – Austin, TX – Lone Star Beer TX Heritage Series – Fair Market

September 10 – Boulder, CO – Fox Theater
September 11 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
September 12 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory Concert House
September 13 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox
September 14 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
September 16 – Arcata, CA – Humboldt Brews
September 17 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
September 18 – West Hollywood, CA – The Troubadour
September 19 – Del Mar, CA – KAABOO
September 20 – Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom
September 21 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
September 23 – Amarillo, TX – Golden Light Cantina
September 24 – Tahlequah, OK – Medicine Stone Festival

October 3 – Dallas, TX – Lake Highlands Oktoberfest
October 15 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West @ King Plow Arts Center
October 16 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
October 17 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
October 19 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
October 20 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl
October 21 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl
October 22 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
October 23 – Ithaca, NY – The Haunt
October 24 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom & Tavern
October 26 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
October 27 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre
October 28 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
October 29 – St Louis, MO – The Ready Room
October 30 – Little Rock, AR – Revolution Music Room

We have our winners!

Thanks everyone who participated, nominated, voted, and most of all, you brave souls that posted your cover performances into the harsh spotlight of anonymous internet critique.

Once again, we were blown away by all of the cool videos you posted.

Winners were selected by YouTube “likes” — not total all-time, but from the day the contest started. Which makes the winners:

1. If & When Rollerskate Skinny

2. Mr. Barton’s DaughterQuestion

3. Hannah Rose MurphyBusted Afternoon

Winners, please email Jefe your address so he can get your prizes shipped! noreplyold97s @ All nominees should do the same!

In Rhett’s own words:

In late January of 2014, I entered Portland, Oregon’s legendary Jackpot Studios accompanied by my friends in the band Black Prairie. John, Jon, Jenny, Nate, Chris, Annalisa and I tracked quickly. Almost everything you hear on The Traveler was recorded live on the floor of Jackpot during that beautiful week. The great Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey came in later and helped out with a few overdubs and that was pretty much it.
My favorite thing about music is the friendship it engenders. And the best way to make music is to get some friends together in a room and roll tape. That’s how The Traveler came to be. I’m so grateful to Black Prairie for all the fun we had making The Traveler.

Thanks for listening. Please enjoy.

-Rhett Miller

Track List

1. Wanderlust
2. Jules
3. Most in the Summertime
4. My Little Disaster
5. Fair Enough
6. Kiss Me On The Fire Escape
7. Lucky Star
8. Escape Velocity
9. Dreams vs. Waking Life
10. Wicked things
11. Good Night
12. Reasons to Live


CD >



Wheels Off: The Rhett Miller Show
with Murry Hammond, Jen Kirkman, & Very Special Guests!
Friday, March 6, 2015
Doors: 7:00 PM / Show: 8:00 PM



Wheels Off: The Rhett Miller Show is a variety show featuring Rhett Miller and his all-star friends. Modeled after an old-school variety show, Wheels Off will feature music, comedy, a little bit of discussion, and maybe even a skit here and there. Past shows have included guests, Jon Brion, Rob Delaney, Ryan Miller, Joey Santiago (Pixies), Rami Jaffee, Jenny O, Jen Kirkman, James Adomian & many others. Always a blast so come on down!

Tickets are $30 and available ONLINE ONLY.

Seat assignments begin at 6:00PM, Doors open for drinks at 7:00PM, Showtime at 8:00PM | When you arrive at Will Call on the night of the show, seats will be assigned first come first served, from the front of the theatre to the back. If you want to sit closer, be sure to come earlier.


It’s time to vote!

After much deliberation, we’ve narrowed it down to twelve finalists. There’s all in a YouTube playlist. Go check them out, and if you like what you see, click “like” on the video’s YouTube page. The video that gets the most new likes by midnight central on Wednesday 4/15 will be the winner!

Go vote now >

Thanks everyone for entering! There were so many great videos, we were really blown away. We really appreciate it.

– – – – – – – – –

Have you ever noticed how many great covers of Old 97’s songs there are on YouTube? We love to see a good cover video, so we want to share them with you guys and pick the very best ones!

Here’s how it works — just find your favorite Old 97’s cover on YouTube and comment on this post with a link to it. Every link posted will be a “nomination.” We’ll pick finalists and share them in a playlist so everyone can vote on their favorite, and feature a finalist a day on Facebook during the voting period.

And yes, you can nominate yourself. And yes, you can record a video just for the contest. Any original Old 97’s song, any instrumentation.

The final winner will get a special prize package, and SO WILL THE NOMINATOR. Whoa.

So start poking around YouTube and see what you can find, or get busy making your own video.

Deadline for nominations is Friday 3/13.

As 2014 comes to a close, please indulge us as we reflect back on the incredible year that was for this band we all adore.

April delivered unto the Universe a 10th album, Most Messed Up, as rowdy, raucous and youthful as the 97’s stellar first effort 20 years prior. MMU is so full of life, piss and vinegar, delivered with the skill of a band of musical brothers who know EXACTLY who they are at this stage of the game, and make no excuses for it.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 3.16.02 PM
All Old 97’s albums are greeted with open arms by fans, but this one… this one was special. This one was more personal. This one gives an honest account of what it is to live life as a musician. The highs, the lows, the justification of vocation, along with a couple signature, whip-smart narrative tales that hook you right in.

Absolutely brilliant!

The critics noticed, too. Reveiw after review, they threw accolades instead of underwear at our favorite foursome’s opus. MMU marked their highest spot ever on Billboard’s chart, logging in at number 30.

Truth be told, there were a few unmentionables tossed Rhett’s way. I’m looking at you, WXPN members.

there always has to be a wiseguy in crowd

there’s always a wiseguy in the crowd. it’s not really Rhett’s color.


As fans, we could not have asked for a greater gift to celebrate Spring. Well, okay, maybe an accompanying touring season.

Held ten days prior to the official release date, the guys played a special CD release homecoming at the AT&T Performing Arts in Dallas. Sharing the stage with Black Joe Lewis, Slobberbone and Madison King, the evening was a happy peak in a year full of high points.

Dallas was the precursor to an extensive tour in support of MMU in which the band was accompanied on the road by the dynamic, female-lead bands of Nikki Lane, Lydia Loveless and Madison King. It was all about the ladies. Each of these lovelies joined Rhett on stage to put her spin on 4 Leaf Clover.

Oh yeah, then there was this one amazing east coast beach run with none other than Tommy Stinson! I can personally vouch for this leg. The Stone Pony gig in particular was off-its-head good. Beach, boardwalk and bikinis bring out the best in these four lads.


And then there was that one crazy night in Brooklyn when the power went out, canceling the show. That didn’t deter Rhett and Murry from taking their act on the road, literally. They performed a mini concert at the backstage door for the stranded fans.

And people wonder why we’re such devoted fans.





2014 also brought the release of the first music video since 2008’s Dance With Me. An entertaining glimpse at the tour life habits of our favorite foursome, Let’s Get Drunk and Get It On includes a fun tongue-in-cheek peek into the secret of Rhett’s youthful appearance. I don’t know about you, but the elevator muzak version of this rocker alone is worth its weight in gold.



During their west coast run, the guys hooked up with Rainn Wilson’s Soul Pancake to record a sidewalk session of Longer Than You’ve Been Alive.



And let’s not forget their opening title cameo on The Daily Show when Jon and the gang visited Austin. That’s some crazy cowboy gear right there. Okay, we all can totally see Murry wearing that shirt for real, right? That thing was made for him!



Not only was 2014 a celebration of this new, spirited album, it also was the 20th anniversary of Old 97’s debut album, Hitchhike to Rhome. Recorded in a matter of days on a shoe-string budget, the songs and themes are just as poignant now as then. To commemorate this 20-year milestone, Rip Rowan was entrusted with engineering an anniversary reissue including a dozen demos, and a couple of never-released songs, all of which came out in November. Rip talks at length about his thoughts on the re-release here.


The theater even recreated the HTR album cover in their front window to mark the occasion

To mark the milestone, the band played HTR in its entirety on a four-night Texas run in December. Lucky fans traveled from near and far to take a step back in time. The final show took place in the beautiful Majestic theater in Dallas, booked by their onetime manager and former Killbilly drummer, Mike Schwedler. It was a This Is Your Life time capsule affair with individuals like Alan Wooley (former guitarist of Killbilly and producer of HTR) joining the band on stage and back stage to reminise. That evening the band came full circle–beginning and ending on Elm Street– only this time in a much, MUCH nicer venue.

You can read reviews from San Antonio, Austin and several from Dallas here here and here.
(many thanks to Kristie Gripp for the use of her outstanding photos from Austin and Dallas)





















The final weeks of 2014 saw Most Messed Up land on a huge number of “Best Of” lists, including WXPN’s David Dye’s. And the 97’s took home some hardware from the Dallas Observer Music Awards for Best Album, Best Alt-Country Act and Best Male Vocalist.


The band are closing out this magical year with a double shot in DC for New Year’s Eve. When the bell strikes midnight, these four talented Texans can raise their glasses and give a toast to one helluva year in Old 97’s history.

From the bottom of our collective fan hearts, thanks to Rhett, Murry, Ken and Philip for the fabulous ride! May 2015 keep this magnificent train a-rolling.






Now available as 2-CD (with 12 bonus tracks) or 2-LP package




We’re pleased as punch to finally release the new, expanded Hitchhike to Rhome today!

Courtesy of Omnivore Recordings, the 2-CD version of Hitchhike To Rhome contains the original album, coupled with a second disc of those 12 rare and unreleased tracks, many mixed from the original multi-tracks for the first time by longtime Old 97’s engineer Rip Rowan. The double LP (limited edition first pressing on translucent orange vinyl) features the LP on three sides with six of the recently unearthed tracks on Side 4. The download card included gives the buyer the complete 2-CD program. Both formats include rare photos, memorabilia and notes from Ken Bethea.

The entire album has been remixed from original session tapes by Rip Rowan. Check out his blog post about the experience.

– – – – –

Don’t forget the December shows where we’ll be playing the album in its entirety as well as a 2nd set of favorites. The “Hitchhike to Home: 20th Anniversary of hitchhike to rhome” tour will visit 4 Texas cities:

Wednesday December 10 – San Antonio at Sam’s Joint with Deathray Davies

Thursday December 11 – Austin at the Parish with the inimitable Homer Henderson One Man Band!

Friday December 12 – Houston at legendary Fitzgerald’s with Deathray Davies

Saturday December 13 – Dallas at the historic Majestic Theatre with Matt Hillyer

– – – – –


Disc One

St. Ignatius


Drowning In The Days

Miss Molly

Dancing With Tears

4 Leaf Clover

Wish The Worst

Old 97’s Theme


Hands Off

Mama Tried


If My Heart Was A Car

Desperate Times

Ken’s Polka Thing

Tupelo County Jail

Disc Two

St. Ignatius (demo cassette version)

Drowning In The Days

(demo cassette version)

Making Love With You

(demo cassette version)

Stoned (demo cassette version)

Dancing With Tears (demo)*

Ivy (demo)*

Eyes For You*

Crying Drunk*


Old 97’s Theme Spgeddi*

Alright By Me*

Desperate Times*




Side One

St. Ignatius


Drowning In The Days

Miss Molly

Dancing With Tears

Side Two

4 Leaf Clover

Wish The Worst

Old 97’s Theme

Tupelo County Jail


Hands Off

Side Three

Mama Tried


If My Heart Was A Car

Desperate Times

Ken’s Polka Thing

Tupelo County Jail

Side Four

Crying Drunk*

Dancing With Tears (demo)

Ivy (demo)*


Eyes For You*

Old 97’s Theme Spgeddi*

* Previously unissued.