Critically acclaimed singer/songwriter and Old 97â€™s front man Rhett Miller will release a collection of new songs on June 9th, his fourth solo album and the first on Shout! Factory. The self-titled album will thrill fans with an up-close and personal journey through Millerâ€™s dark heart and complicated mind – all set to the kind of rollicking tunes for which heâ€™s known. The album is the darkest of Millerâ€™s deep catalog of releases, and is a personal triumph both lyrically and sonically.
â€œMy approach to songwriting has always been to take a heavy subject and put it to a bouncy tune. This record takes that trick to the next level.â€ Miller says. â€œDonâ€™t get me wrong, there are some rays of sunshine on the album, but there is a lot of deep night.â€ He explains further, â€œThe death of my grandmother, the suicide of my hero, David Foster Wallace. In my head, I was sort of in a dark place when I made this record.â€ Laughing, he adds, â€œItâ€™s still a fun record to listen to. Itâ€™s a fine line you gotta walk, right?â€
Miller penned all the songs on the record with the exception of â€œIf Itâ€™s Not Love,â€ which was co-written with Matt Scannell. Rhett Miller was produced by Salim Nourallah, who also produced the latest critically acclaimed Old 97â€™s release, 2008â€™s Blame It On Gravity. The exciting new 12-song set also features multi-instrumentalist and producer, Jon Brion on guitar and bass, The Apples In Stereoâ€™s John Dufilho on drums and Billy Harvey on guitar. While speaking to Billboard Magazine about the album, Miller stated â€œEvery musician I hired was a producer. All these people could have easily produced this record themselves.â€ While the album was initially planned as a stripped-down, acoustic record, with the help of his stellar backing band, it quickly turned into one of huge sonic scope.
Of the albumâ€™s most rocking track, Miller says, â€œâ€˜Happy Birthday Donâ€™t Dieâ€ came to me in a fevered rush the morning before I headed to Texas to make the record. The whole story was there in my head when I woke up. This weird sci-fi portrait of a little old lady buried in the catacombs of some colony planet celebrating her one-hundredth birthday by dying. Writing that song was like speaking in tongues, very strange.â€ Not all the songs on the album are so far-flung, â€œSometimesâ€™ came out of hearing my two-year-old daughter singing to herself in her crib one morning. I took her little tune and fleshed it out into first a chorus and then a whole song.â€ Elsewhere on the album, one finds the quirky details that are a hallmark of Millerâ€™s songwriting. The â€œcomedy clubâ€ in â€œI Need To Know Where I Standâ€ sounds suspiciously similar to LAâ€™s famed CafÃ© Largo where Miller has played regularly over the years. In the same song, we find â€œthe Hamlet of Wallkill,â€ a town in the Hudson Valley near where the songâ€™s author resides. But itâ€™s the simple statements of grand truths that set this album apart from Millerâ€™s earlier work. Take, for instance, the following line from â€œLike Love.â€ â€œWe are all alone in this world/from cradle to grave/and maybe after that.â€ A bitter little sentiment, but dropped into the middle of a fun, foot-stomper of a song, itâ€™s a testament to the years Rhett Miller has spent honing his craft.
While maintaining his career with the Old 97â€™s, Austin-born Rhett Miller has also released three previous solo albums, Mythologies, recorded during his junior year in high school and produced by future Old 97â€™s co-founder, Murry Hammond, in 1989, 2002â€™s The Instigator, and The Believer in 2006. While based in Dallas, Miller and Hammond formed Old 97â€™s in 1993. With their effortless combination of rock, power-pop and country, the band quickly became one of the most acclaimed and beloved bands to spring from the 90s indie rock scene. They have released seven powerhouse studio albums to date.
Well-known as an explosive live act both solo and with the band, Miller and the Old 97â€™s will be on tour throughout the summer and fall. Many of these shows will be billed as â€œAn Evening Withâ€¦,â€ and will feature an opening solo set by Miller during which he will perform songs from the new album and favorites from his solo catalog.
Rhett Miller Track Listing:
1. Nobody Says I Love You Anymore
2. Like Love
4. I Need to Know Where I Stand
5. Happy Birthday Donâ€™t Die
8. If Itâ€™s Not Love
9. Another Girlfriend
10. Refusing Temptation
Upcoming Rhett Miller live performances – many more TBA:
April 11th – Ithaca, NY Castaways
April 16th – New York, NY Le Poisson Rouge
May 1st – Red Bank, NJ Count Basie Theatre – Writers in the Raw w/ David Johansen of the
New York Dolls, Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and others.
May 13th – Northampton, MA Iron Horse
May 14th – Boston, MA The Paradise
Shout! Factory is a diversified entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering and revitalizing the very best of pop culture â€“ The Stuff You Grew Up On But Never Outgrew. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their careers sharing their music, television and film faves with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factoryâ€™s DVD offerings serve up classic, contemporary and cult TV series, riveting sports programs, live music, animation and documentaries in lavish packages crammed with extras. The companyâ€™s audio catalogue boasts GrammyÂ®-nominated boxed sets, new releases from storied artists and lovingly assembled album reissues. These riches are the result of a creative acquisitions mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. For more on Shout! Factory, visit www.shoutfactory.com.