VH1 is giving the Rhettster some major coverage this week, including two interviews (here and here) and links to both the video for “Come Around” and a complete on-line stream of The Instigator. The upside? Now you don’t necessarily have to pre-order from Amazon to hear the album. (But shame if you don’t!) The downside? I couldn’t get the damn link to work.

And how about some good Old 97’s news? In an interview with LA New Times, Rhett fills out some of the details in his – and the Old 97’s – relationship with Elektra, and if the article is accurate, Elektra has the right of first refusal on Rhett’s next album of any sort. Rhett says he intends it to be a 2003 effort… with Old 97’s. Yeah!

OK, now Carson Daly. Several recent posts on Wrecked rightly refer to him as a tool, and who can argue with that? Nonetheless his schedulers made a rare display of excellent taste in booking Rhett to appear at a recent taping. That episode of Last Call With Carson Daly was scheduled to air on 9/24, but several folks in the audience that evening say that the show will now air on 10/1. So who knows? In any case, here’s a suggestion for a new Carson Daly tool: a Day Planner.

The first on-line reviews of The Instigator are also beginning to trickle in, beginning with on in the Dallas Observer. I’d like to post links to as many as possible, so if you happen across one, please forward the URL. (In fact I’d love to have the URL to any other good Old 97’s or Rhett Miller articles not currently listed here on the site!) Currently, I’m posting Instigator reviews on the Old 97’s Reviews page, along with reviews of older, Old 97’s related side-projects. I’m not sure if that’s the best place for them, and may soon open up a new page, strictly for reviews of non-Old 97’s stuff. If so, I’ll let you know.

Also, here are two (bad) answers to two frequent HBAT technical questions. The first asks why the links to most audio clips on the “Sounds” page aren’t working. The answer is a long, convoluted tale involving a recent move by HBAT from one web hosting firm to another. Basically, some dishes were broken in the move, which occurred just as I upgraded from a Win98 to a WinXP machine. Unfortunately, the XP machine won’t run the software I used to format and upload the files, and thus far, I’ve not found any comparable (and affordable) software that would make the chore of uploading anything less than an afternoon long affair. But as soon as I get an entire half day that I can devote to the project, the files will be up again.

And last, to answer our most frequently asked question: “Why can’t I order Old 97’s merchandise? I keep getting error messages!” Well, please note that the neither the Old 79’s nor this site actually handle the sale of their merchandise. So the answer is “I don’t know.” Instead, Old 97’s merchandise is sold by Summer Break Records. So perhaps you can direct your queries there instead? Try this: one@summerbreakrecords.com

<editorial> Last, though certainly not least, “World Inside The World,” off The Instigator, is one drop-dead knock-out bit of songcraft. Man, it’s certain to go down as Rhett’s most beautiful song since, “Salome,” maybe ever. Beyond Rhett’s usual melodic and lyrical gifts, “WITW” shows an simple and unforced, worldly – I don’t know – profundity. (Please, someone, shoot me a noun here, OK?) All I know is these aren’t the same songwriting chops that brought you “Victoria.” They’re miles beyond that. </editorial>