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Someone once said there's no point making a solo record unless you're going to do something you can't do within the context of your band, and Rhett Miller of the Old 97's has certainly embraced this notion on his fourth, self-titled album. Miller has previously used his solo work to explore the poppier side of his music and tone down the Old 97's' country accents, and Rhett Miller clearly follows this path, with the light Texas twang gone from Miller's voice and the lyrics following an artier, more cerebral model than the regular-guy tone of his best-known stuff, especially in the Dylan-esque surrealism of "Happy Birthday Don't Die" and the globe-trotting confessional of "I Need to Know Where I Stand." Rhett Miller also sounds cleaner and more intimate than The Instigator or The Believer; Salim Nourallah, who plays in Miller's road band and produced the Old 97's Blame It on Gravity, was behind the controls for these sessions and he gives these songs a straightforward, intelligent sound regardless if the band rocks hard, they dip their toes into Baroque chamber pop, or if Miller and his acoustic guitar are the tight focus of the arrangement. But what's most striking is that the spunk and fire of Miller's best music is largely absent from the 12 songs on Rhett Miller; troubles with women have always been one of his favorite subjects, but here he moves from a twenty-something's girl trouble to adult relationships that leave real scars when they go awry. Miller brings plenty of heart and soul to these songs, but "Haphazardly," "Another Girlfriend," and "Like Love" go into darker and more haunted places than he's dared to venture in the past, and Rhett Miller is a long way from what he's delivered before, either on his own or with his band. It's an ambitious album that finds Miller really stretching himself as a songwriter, but it's hard not to wish there were more songs like the nervy "If It's Not Love" on board to help the medicine go down.
Performance CreditsRhett Miller Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Hand Clapping
Jon Brion Bass,Electric Guitar
John Garner Bass
Paul Averitt Tambourine,Background Vocals,Guitar (12 String Electric)
Rip Rowan Organ,Piano,Drums,Tambourine,Vocals,Hand Clapping,Mellotron,Shaker,Wurlitzer,Mouth Percussion
Kristy Kruger Background Vocals
John Dufilho Drums,Tambourine,Vocals,Shaker,Mouth Percussion
Salim Nourallah Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Electric Guitar,Tambourine,Background Vocals,Finger Snapping,Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Technical CreditsRhett Miller Composer
Matthew Scannell Composer
Rip Rowan Engineer
Salim Nourallah Producer
Jeff Palo Producer
Karrie Stouffer Artwork
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am a Rhett Miller fan including his work with the Old 97's. Truthfully, after his his 2 solo albums, I am a bit disappointed. This CD appears to be on more of a personal level. That's not a bad thing but as a listener, there aren't those 1 or 2 songs that reach out and grab you. Even after a few listenings nothing really stood out to me as classic Rhett. If you are new to Rhett or if you are interested in hearing him for the 1st time, I strongly recommend you start with either of his 2 other solo albums. You will really enjoy them. Plus try any of his work with the Old 97's for some real "killer" stuff !!!!