The Grand Theatre, Vol. 1

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Of all the great bands that came out of the 1990s alt-country boom, the Old 97's were the one that seemed least bound to what became the conventions of the genre -- in a scene full of would-be Gene Vincents, they were four Buddy Hollys, guys who knew how to rock out, but weren't afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves and toss some sweet pop melodies in with their Texas-style fusion of regular-guy honky tonk and nervy rock & roll. After the Old 97's tenure with Elektra Records ended following 2001's Satellite Rides, they continued to make albums, and good ones at that, but they didn't hit the target quite the same way, and as lead singer Rhett Miller began dividing...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Of all the great bands that came out of the 1990s alt-country boom, the Old 97's were the one that seemed least bound to what became the conventions of the genre -- in a scene full of would-be Gene Vincents, they were four Buddy Hollys, guys who knew how to rock out, but weren't afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves and toss some sweet pop melodies in with their Texas-style fusion of regular-guy honky tonk and nervy rock & roll. After the Old 97's tenure with Elektra Records ended following 2001's Satellite Rides, they continued to make albums, and good ones at that, but they didn't hit the target quite the same way, and as lead singer Rhett Miller began dividing his time between the band and a solo career, a certain tight focus seemed to fade from their music. Thankfully, The Grand Theatre, Vol. 1 is where the Old 97's get their old mojo back. If it's not radically different in terms of songwriting or arrangement than Drag It Up or Blame It on Gravity, there's a taut energy on songs like "The Magician," "Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)," and "A State of Texas" that this band hasn't summoned in close to a decade, and the moodier numbers such as "Let the Whiskey Take the Reins" and "Love Is What You Are" speak from the heart and soul of a guy who's in love and not liking it, with an uncanny ear for the details. Miller's vocals sound tough and honest throughout, Ken Bethea's guitar work is simple, solid, and fits the spaces just right, and Murray Hammond and Phillip Peeples still serve up some of the most indefatigable shuffles on the planet. And not every band has the talent and the gall to rewrite "Desolation Row" and make it click, but the Old 97's achieve that lofty goal on "Champaign, Illinois." Saying The Grand Theatre, Vol. 1 is a return to form unnecessarily belittles the last few Old 97's albums that came before it, but calling it their best album since Fight Songs is just about right.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/12/2010
  • Label: New West Records
  • UPC: 607396619023
  • Catalog Number: 6190
  • Sales rank: 82,897

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Old 97's Primary Artist
Rhett Miller Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Rip Rowan Piano
Murry Hammond Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Ken Bethea Guitar, Group Member
Philip Peeples Percussion, Drums, Group Member
Technical Credits
Bob Dylan Composer
Dave McNair Mastering
Old 97's Composer, Producer, Art Direction
Rhett Miller Composer, Lyricist
Jim Vollentine Engineer
Rip Rowan Producer, overdub engineer
Salim Nourallah Producer, overdub engineer
Paul Moore Art Direction
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