The Traveler

The Traveler

by Rhett Miller

CD(Digi-Pak)

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Overview

The Traveler

Rhett Miller has been dividing his time between the Old 97's and his solo career since 2002 (we'll generously overlook his 1994 indiscretion Mythologies), and he's been looking for a comfortable stylistic home since 2002's The Instigator, wavering back and forth between various approaches to pop with a vague country inflection hovering on the margins. One thing has remained constant, though -- he keeps falling for the wrong kind of women, which was funny when he was a twenty-something but is starting to seem just a bit creepy now that he's a married man in his mid-forties. Miller's sixth studio album, 2015's The Traveler, once again finds the Serial Lady Killer sharing the details of his troubles with the opposite sex, sometimes in a manner that's funny and charming ("Most in the Summertime" and "Kiss Me on the Fire Escape," both of which feel like potential singles) and sometimes leaving us no choice than to think he must know better by now ("My Little Disaster" concerns an alcoholic party girl who, if she's Miller's age, should be in the hospital by now; and in "Wicked Things" he tries to sweetly convince a woman he's no more corrupt than she is, an uncomfortable means of seduction if there ever were such a thing). While there's no denying that Miller writes well about his favorite theme, there are a few moments on The Traveler where he needs to find a new obsession, or at very least start chasing more age-appropriate women. Musically, though, The Traveler is one of Miller's most satisfying solo efforts to date; on these sessions, he was accompanied by Black Prairie, a band featuring several members of the Decemberists on a busman's holiday, and their atmospheric sound, full of fiddles, accordions, mandolins, and rolling drums, gives his melodies a flavor that's rootsy but not necessarily country (and very different from the Old 97's), and their harmonies blend beautifully with Miller's lead vocals. (Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey also pop up on a few songs, adding some welcome jangle.) Most of the songs on The Traveler pass muster, and a few are excellent, but it's Miller's interaction with Black Prairie that really makes the album work. They ought to collaborate on a follow-up about a mildly reluctant but essentially faithful husband living in Austin. At least in theory, it should come natural to him.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/12/2015
Label: Ato Records
UPC: 0880882224929
catalogNumber: 222492
Rank: 202955

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rhett Miller   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Scott McCaughey   6-string bass,Soloist
Peter Buck   Mandolin,6-string bass,Guitar (12 String Electric)
John Moen   Percussion,Drums,Vocals
Chris Funk   Bouzouki,Dobro,Electric Guitar,Bells,Sampling,Marxophone,Weissenborn
Jon Neufeld   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Annalisa Tornfelt   Fiddle,Strings,Vocals,Nyckelharpa
Ryan Miller   Background Vocals
Black Prairie   Guest Appearance
Jenny Conlee-Drizos   Piano,Accordion,chamberlain,Hammond B3

Technical Credits

Scott McCaughey   Arranger
Rhett Miller   Composer
Murry Hammond   Composer
Chris Funk   Producer,Engineer
Salim Nourallah   Cover Photo,Back Cover Photo
Richard Edwards   Composer
Jason Quigley   Sleeve Photo
Adam Seizer   Engineer

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