of Old 97's with Cheyenne Marie Mize
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 8:00 PM CDT
(7:00 PM Doors)
Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN
18 years and over
For almost ten years now, Rhett Miller has balanced a solo career with a band career, as both the leader of the rock band Old 97's and as an acclaimed singer-songwriter in his own right. Last year, the Old 97's released their seventh album, Blame It On Gravity. Now, just a year later, Miller returns with his fourth solo record, the self-titled Rhett Miller. Like every record that Miller is involved in, it's tuneful, memorable, and smart. Unlike the other records, though, this one cuts deep -- sometimes to the bone. As the title suggests, this album represents Miller's most personal statement in a career that has spanned more than a decade. And that's exactly the way he wants it.
"The reason I have to make solo records is because the nature of the band; when I bring ideas, they get voted down frequently," Miller says. "That's always been the case. The band is a democracy. But I have always told the guys that I want to make solo records."
Those solo records have always complemented the band's output, both sonically and thematically. "You can tell what the band doesn't like by listening to my solo records," Miller says. "Generally the consensus is that the band likes things that swing, things with a train beat that are rootsy and Texan. The things they don't get as much collectively are the songs that are poppier, as well as the stuff that's quiet and personal."
Earlier solo projects like The Instigator (2002) and The Believer (2006) found Miller exploring, respectively, the power-pop dimension of his work and the moodier ballad work. Rhett Miller continues in the latter direction, though it contains plenty of Miller's scalpel-sharp wordplay.
"There's a fine line on this record," Miller says. "Lyrically it has moments of real darkness, though sonically it's a fun rock-and-roll record. Basically, I want people to be able to put it on at a party and enjoy listening to it. It's not a record that has to be listened to at night with a loaded gun."