So how ya been? Did everybody have a Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, Kawanzaa, Festivus, Solstice or other Winter Holiday of your particular faith and/or lack thereof? Marvelous. Santa was kind enough to bring your webmaster some nifty Altec-Lansing travel speakers for his iPod, and some major-league Shure earbuds for the same, the better to jam on the road. Better still, the webmaster’s new home away from home – an Orlando crashpad – finally has internet access! Wireless & high speed to boot, and you know what that means, right? Faster porn downloads? No! More frequent updates, which at the rate I’ve done them since Thanksgiving, shouldn’t be too hard. My apologies.

But since we’re talking holiday presents let’s start planning ahead for next year, shall we? After all, there are only 353 days until Christmas! And here’s the back story for a future stocking stuffer: Remember back in the day, 1994 to be exact, when the Old 97’s recorded “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “Holly Jolly Christmas” for the out-of-print Honky-Tonk Holidays: Christmas in Deep Nöellum? Well, next year, be on the lookout for more, as Rhett announced at one of his December shows in NYC that the Old 97’s will be reconvening in the studio in 2005 to wax a Christmas album. And why not? With all of the guys married and so many little 97’s running around these days, it’s something they can do for their fans, themselves, and their kids. More word on the project as details emerge.

A holiday album would also make three 97’s-related releases in ’05, as word around town is that Rhett will soon be announcing details on a new label a tentative schedule for the release of his third solo album, the follow-up to 2002’s The Instigator. What’s the third? Read on.

Had I been paying closer attention to the to the Hitchhiking board, I would’ve passed this along as well: The PLUG Awards recognize Indie music favorites and this year, the Old 97’s Drag It Up Is nominated for Americana album of the year. Why not click on over and vote?. And while you’re at it, Paste Magazine (which you might describe as a grown up SPIN) also has their annual reader poll up, and once again, the Old 97’s are nominated. You make make your vote count there too, on the 97’s and dozens of other great acts. Results will be published in Paste’s Feb./Mar. issue.

Also, you can get your Ken on with a great interview he did with the Marquette Tribune during the band’s recent tour, and there are some nifty new in concert pics posted both here, and here, the latter from the always on-target Alex Meyers who has, without a doubt, the finest repository of Old 97’s concert snaps on the web. Also, thanks to Johnny “Ells” Ellenberger, we’ve got some new Old 97’s wall paper available for your desktop downloading pleasure. Just click over to the Downloads page.

Hey kids, how ’bout some Old 97’s ringtones? Well sorry, I know nothing, even though that’s been one of the most frequently requested new Old 97’s thingamajig in quite a while. Thing is, I don’t think they exist. Yet. But we’ll keep up the buzz, and maybe we can get some action! Dammit 🙂 Speaking of requests, the other thing everyone’s been asking about is that DVD. Well guess what? New West announced today that the Old 97’s Live DVD hits store shelves on January 25th! Shot at the El Lay’s Troubadour nightclub, the disc should finally do justice to capturing the power of the 97’s in concert. Its twenty tracks include cuts from DIU and every other studio album from the band’s eleven year career. The disc also features behind the scenes footage and interviews with the guys.

Old 97’s Live track listing:

1. Just Like California

2. King Of All The World

3. Weightless

4. Rollerskate Skinny

5. Won’t Be Home

6. Smokers

7. Melt Show

8. Wish The Worst

9. Lonely Holiday

10. Up The Devil’s Pay

11. Friends Forever

12. The New Kid

13. Jagged

14. Four Leaf Clover

15. Question

16. Valentine

17. Murder (Or A Heart Attack)

18. Doreen

19. Big Brown Eyes

20. Time Bomb

So that’s all for now. I’ll have more soon. And this time, no kidding.

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