Old 97's 'Blame It On Gravity': Taut and Delicate

Formed in Dallas, the Old 97's were long pigeonholed as an alt-country band. They never were—just a rocking quartet with a terrific songwriter up top named Rhett Miller. They've just put out their best album in seven years. Blame It On Gravity is noticeably more taut and focused than their earlier albums—more delicate, too. Robert Christgau wonders whether, as with so many songwriters before him, Miller's personal pain has picked up his game. In these post-Tin Pan Alley days, most good songwriters play with the first person so it's impossible to know what's life and what's art—that's part of the power of the form.

Rhett Miller: 'Serial Ladykiller,' Lovelorn Crooner

The Old 97's

hide captionThe influences of the Old 97's are as diverse as Johnny Cash, David Bowie, and the Pixies.

Lisa Johnson

Alt-country favorites the Old 97's are as reliable as a worn pair of cowboy boots and an old flannel shirt. The band has been playing for 15 years now, and they just released the album Blame It On Gravity.

Guitarist and vocalist Rhett Miller takes a break from their summer tour to talk about the group's new album and the band's career. Miller also performs some new songs and a few old hits.

In addition to playing in the Old 97's, Miller has a successful solo career, having released three albums. His most recent recording, The Believer, was well-received by critics.

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