Murry recently checked recently in with news on the 97’s front: “The 97’s are reconvening in May to sit down with lists and guitars and start talking seriously about the next album, and I want to have some songs in my pocket. I told them I’m shooting for four on this one! We’ll see. I think I can pull it off.” And Murry also seem to be a more or less full-time member of wife Grey’s DeLisle’s band, “The Homewreckers,” who are currently in the midst of recording a follow-up to Grey’s 2001 Homewrecker, this time with Todd Burke, who produced the last Ben Harper record, handling the knobs.

And anyone here remember the Satellite Riders? They’ve continued to plug away as the worlds finest (and only?) Old 97’s tribute band all throughout the 97’s hiatus. And they return to Dallas Sons of Hermann Hall on Friday night, May 9! For those of you unfamiliar with the Riders, here’s a reprint from a December 2001 post:

Yeah OK, sometimes tribute bands are a blight. In North Texas though, they seem to rock. For example, Weener and Bluh pay tribute to Weezer and Blur respectively, while putting on A+ shows in their own right. Of course the 97’s have a growing list of bands who cover their songs, and now, they too have a, ahem… tribute band. Billing themselves as “Satellite Riders,” these four guys, who even look a bit like the 97’s – Mike Shrimpton (drums), Derek Smalls (bass), Nigel Tuffnel (lead guitar), and Dave Hubbins (rythym guitar/lead vocals) – have been plugging away for as long as the Old 97’s themselves, and have garnered their own ever-growing flock of converts. They also bring to their shows the same happy intensity as the Olds, and now, 97’s fans can check ’em out in a classic Old 97’s venue, and within a day of an Old 97’s show…

Oh yeah, Rhett content: man I guess he’s big in Japan, right? With all those Japanese tour dates? We’re going to have to sit him down and get the skinny on what it’s like being the center of a screaming mob of Japanese women. In the meantime, you can check out this nifty new interview with Rhett from the Ventura County Star. And don’t forget to check our new MP3 of Rhett’s performance of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound,” first broadcast on this year’s Oscar telecast. Props to David Welsh for supplying the clip!

Finally, the Old 97s will be playing several Texas dates in May, though perhaps none more meaningful than one on May 8, at Emo’s in Austin. That night, several bands in including the 97’s and the Deathray Davies, will be playing a benefit for the family of “Handsome Joel” Svatek, former roadie and all around handyman for the Old 97’s and several other Austin bands. Joel was killed by a drunk driver earlier this year, and proceeds will go to help Joel’s family deal with their loss.