Old 97’s

Old 97’s
Event on 2017-06-10 21:00:00

In 1996, Old 97s recorded Too Far to Care. It was their major-label debutfollowing two independent releases and a year-long bidding war, the Dallas-based quartet had signed with Elektra Records. But rather than venture into some state-of-the-art studio in New York or LA, the band decamped to Village Productions in Tornillo, Texas, a remote facility in the middle of two thousand acres of pecan trees near the Mexican border, with a mixing board acquired from an engineer who had worked on some of Queens albums. Now over twenty years later, they have returned to record their eleventh studio album, Graveyard Whistling.[Too Far To Care] is the sound that best defined us, says Rhett Miller, the lead singer and primary songwriter. It was a really magical time, and we go back to it a lot in our collective memory.And so when it came time for the bandwhich still consists of the same four members: Miller, guitarist Ken Bethea, bassist Murry Hammond, and drummer Philip Peeplesto record their newest endeavor, producer Vance Powell brought up the idea of returning to Tornillo. We knew instantly that it was the perfect move, says Miller. We werent trying to remake Too Far to Care, but to make something where fans would say, This band hasnt lost a step in twenty-some years.The result is the eleven songs of Graveyard Whistling, from a group that has earned the respect and veneration as one of the pioneers of the alt-country movement, while still retaining the raucous energy, deceptive cleverness, and knockabout spirit that first distinguished them from the pack. The record comes out blazing with the breakneck shuffle of I Dont Want to Die in This Town (based on a possibly apocryphal quote from Frank Sinatra), and maintaining that feverish intensity even when the tempo drops on songs like the more contemplative All Who Wander. Echoes of such barroom saints as the Replacements and the Pogues appear on sing-alongs Bad Luck Charm and Irish Whiskey Pretty Girls, but bigger and more mature issues simmer underneath the steamroller swing.Returning to Tornillo was more than just a novelty, and proved key to the albums direction. At some point renamed Sonic Ranch, the studio has been expanded and updated, but the band went back into the same recording space. They even stayed in the same bedroomsMiller opened the drawer of his nightstand and found a note that he had written twenty years earlier.The time-travel element cant be overstated, says the singer. It was a beautiful feeling of completing a circlewere the same people, but we had grown so much as bandmates and friends. It really made me believe in the power of experience and that you do get better with time. Were capable of so much more now than we were two decades prior, but it also felt like we just took a coffee break in 1996 and now here we were, sitting back down to make a new record.After all this time, Old 97s also found themselves in the interesting position of following up the most critically acclaimed, highest charting record of their career, 2014s Most Messed Up. We didnt expect that kind of reception for Most Messed Upin the current climate, says Miller. It was very cool, and weird, a great feeling but also a newfound pressure.

at Sam’s Burger Joint Music Hall
330 East Grayson Street
San Antonio, United States


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