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Pop - Verschenen op 20 maart 2001 | Elektra Records

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Rock - Verschenen op 12 februari 2008 | Rhino - Elektra

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Rock - Verschenen op 24 februari 2017 | ATO (UK)

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While the Old 97's have as recognizable a sound as anyone who came out of the '90s alt-country scene, you can't accuse them of repeating themselves. On 2014's Most Messed Up, their tenth studio album, the band sounded proudly rowdy and plenty scrappy, ready to make trouble and have a good time doing it. Three years later, 2017's Graveyard Whistling finds them delivering a more polished product, coupled with a firm sense of consequence about the bad results of the pursuit of good times. Vance Powell's production boasts more clarity, depth, and drama than Most Messed Up, though he hasn't sapped the group's fiery attack, and while most of the tracks here feature more cautious tempos, the trademark twang and crunch of Ken Bethea's guitar are as powerful as ever, and the hard-edged shuffle of bassist Murry Hammond and drummer Philip Peeples has only grown more powerful with time. There's a dark, spooky undertow to numbers like "I Don't Wanna Die in This Town" and "Good with God" (the latter featuring guest vocals from Brandi Carlile), and even upbeat numbers like "She Hates Everybody" and "Nobody" have a rueful tone that confirms these guys have been around long enough to know how elusive good times can be. Graveyard Whistling has a strong sense of drama, but it's far from a bum trip; the Old 97's still know how to rev up when they feel like it on numbers like "Drinkin' Song" (which could be an outtake from Most Messed Up), and Rhett Miller's skills as a vocalist and lyricist are as strong as ever, giving this music the sort of heart and soul that the band has never failed to deliver. The Old 97's still sound engaged, energetic, and as committed as ever 23 years after they released their debut, and Graveyard Whistling is evidence they're not short on fresh ideas either. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Pop - Verschenen op 27 april 1999 | Elektra Records

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Country - Verschenen op 12 februari 2008 | Rhino - Elektra

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Rock - Verschenen op 21 augustus 2020 | ATO RECORDS

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Rock & roll often has an unfortunate habit of locking musicians into an extended adolescence, not surprising in a medium where plenty of foolish behavior is not just acceptable but encouraged. Though the Old 97's were hardly known for their bad habits, the fact they were still singing songs about chasing women and getting drunk decades into their career suggested that at least creatively, they had a flexible attitude regarding maturity. However, in the late 2010s fate gave the bandmembers a few reminders that they weren't as young as they once were. Drummer Philip Peeples had a brush with death following a skull fracture, guitarist Ken Bethea started experiencing numbness and loss of motor function in his hands that required spinal surgery, and lead singer and main songwriter Rhett Miller faced up to a drinking problem and gave up alcohol. (Bassist Murry Hammond managed to escape unscathed.) 2020's Twelfth, a fitting title for their 12th album, is the sound of a band who haven't given up on the raucous mix of rock & roll and country accents that they've made their own since their first LP arrived in 1994. Lyrically, though, this music often deals with facing up to responsibility and looking back at past mistakes with a new level of clarity. "Vices make you hungry/And you never can get full," from "Our Year," is a pithy rejoinder to the cheerful reprobate Miller impersonated on 2014's Most Messed Up, while "The Dropouts" is an uncharitable portrait of a man-child's lot in life, and the buzzy guitars and pitiless self-examination of "Confessional Boxing" is as candid as anything this band has ever recorded. (Even if Miller is pursuing a one-night stand on "Diamonds on Neptune," he leaves no doubt it won't go well and that she won't speak well of him.) "I Like You Better," meanwhile, is the testimony of a man who wants to be a better man for the woman he loves, and "Why Don't We Ever Say We're Sorry," written and sung by Hammond, is a simple but powerful statement of what's gone wrong and what he needs to do right. There's plenty of great, satisfying twangy rock on Twelfth, which is what we've come to expect from the Old 97's. There's also a level of self-awareness and maturity that's new to them, and that makes Twelfth a brave and valuable release from this great band. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Pop - Verschenen op 20 juni 2006 | Rhino - Elektra

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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 29 april 2014 | ATO (UK)

"We've been doin' this longer than you've been alive/Propelled by some mysterious drive …" With those words pondering the ups and downs of their career, the Old 97's kick off their tenth studio album, and if this band sounds older and just a bit wiser 20 years on from their first full-length, Most Messed Up is the album where they happily cop to their status as rock & roll lifers, and this set plays like the work of a veteran band in the best of all possible ways. After the ambitious scope of the Grand Theatre albums and the poppier tone of Blame It on Gravity, Most Messed Up sounds casual and easygoing while also getting back to the basics of the Old 97's approach -- this sounds like the band rolled in, hit record, and let it rip, and the final product is tight, raucous, and the hardest rockin' set of tunes these guys have offered up since 1999's Fight Songs. Dropping occasional f-bombs, frequently celebrating the virtues of booze, and offering to take his gal to a cheap hotel for a wild night, Rhett Miller sounds like he's on a tear with his buddies and loving every moment of it, while Ken Bethea's guitar is fittingly ragged and roaring, exploring the space between twang and bark, and bassist Murry Hammond and drummer Philip Peeples keep the show rolling forward with the implacable honky tonk swing that's been their trademark for years. If this leans more to rock & roll than Texas honky tonk, it still sounds like classic Old 97's, and Most Messed Up shows these guys can commendably hold up their rowdy side while making the kind of elemental Lone Star music that still makes them a kick to hear. Sometimes a willingness to toss off responsibility once in a while is a sure sign of maturity, and if you want to hear a golden example of this thinking in action, the Old 97's have one for you with Most Messed Up. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Country - Verschenen op 17 november 2014 | Omnivore Recordings

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Kerstmuziek - Verschenen op 16 november 2018 | ATO Records

Nearly a quarter century after they released their first album, Old 97's have covered a lot of ground in the course of their career, but they've finally crossed one bit of unfinished business off their bucket list by releasing a Christmas album. Released in November 2018, Love the Holidays leans a bit to the pop side of this band's sound, as if they struck a midpoint between their classic attack on Too Far to Care and the more artful approach of Rhett Miller's solo work. "Snow Angels," "Wintertime in the City," and "Here It Is Christmastime" are rather contemplative by the band's standards, and Miller's lyrics often have as much to do with broken hearts as Santa and the holiday season. But the chatter and growl of Ken Bethea's guitar are more than enough to brand this as Old 97's, and bassist Murry Hammond and drummer Philip Peeples aren't afraid to put some muscle behind tunes like "Gotta Love Being a Kid (Merry Christmas)" and the title track. "Hobo Christmas Song" should please those who want a bit more twang in their mix. The more rollicking numbers also have a strong undercurrent of humor, and if "Rudolph Was Blue" (about a certain reindeer looking for his true love) is awfully goofy, it's also fun and kids will doubtless love it. And while Yuletide albums are often a bit lazy, mostly dealing in the same familiar melodies, the band wrote nine original numbers for Love the Holidays, and if they're not all classics, they give the album a sound and a voice of its own. (The vinyl edition includes one cover, "Auld Lang Syne," while another four -- "Angels We Have Heard on High," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Up on the Housetop," and "Blue Christmas" -- close out the CD and digital releases.) Alt-country fans throwing a Christmas party will find Love the Holidays every bit as welcome as a big batch of spiked eggnog. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Country - Verschenen op 30 september 2013 | Omnivore Recordings

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Rock - Verschenen op 21 augustus 2020 | ATO RECORDS

Rock & roll often has an unfortunate habit of locking musicians into an extended adolescence, not surprising in a medium where plenty of foolish behavior is not just acceptable but encouraged. Though the Old 97's were hardly known for their bad habits, the fact they were still singing songs about chasing women and getting drunk decades into their career suggested that at least creatively, they had a flexible attitude regarding maturity. However, in the late 2010s fate gave the bandmembers a few reminders that they weren't as young as they once were. Drummer Philip Peeples had a brush with death following a skull fracture, guitarist Ken Bethea started experiencing numbness and loss of motor function in his hands that required spinal surgery, and lead singer and main songwriter Rhett Miller faced up to a drinking problem and gave up alcohol. (Bassist Murry Hammond managed to escape unscathed.) 2020's Twelfth, a fitting title for their 12th album, is the sound of a band who haven't given up on the raucous mix of rock & roll and country accents that they've made their own since their first LP arrived in 1994. Lyrically, though, this music often deals with facing up to responsibility and looking back at past mistakes with a new level of clarity. "Vices make you hungry/And you never can get full," from "Our Year," is a pithy rejoinder to the cheerful reprobate Miller impersonated on 2014's Most Messed Up, while "The Dropouts" is an uncharitable portrait of a man-child's lot in life, and the buzzy guitars and pitiless self-examination of "Confessional Boxing" is as candid as anything this band has ever recorded. (Even if Miller is pursuing a one-night stand on "Diamonds on Neptune," he leaves no doubt it won't go well and that she won't speak well of him.) "I Like You Better," meanwhile, is the testimony of a man who wants to be a better man for the woman he loves, and "Why Don't We Ever Say We're Sorry," written and sung by Hammond, is a simple but powerful statement of what's gone wrong and what he needs to do right. There's plenty of great, satisfying twangy rock on Twelfth, which is what we've come to expect from the Old 97's. There's also a level of self-awareness and maturity that's new to them, and that makes Twelfth a brave and valuable release from this great band. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Kerstmuziek - Verschenen op 16 november 2018 | ATO Records

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Country - Verschenen op 9 oktober 2012 | Omnivore Recordings

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Ambient / New Age / Easy Listening - Verschenen op 16 november 2018 | ATO RECORDS

Nearly a quarter century after they released their first album, Old 97's have covered a lot of ground in the course of their career, but they've finally crossed one bit of unfinished business off their bucket list by releasing a Christmas album. Released in November 2018, Love the Holidays leans a bit to the pop side of this band's sound, as if they struck a midpoint between their classic attack on Too Far to Care and the more artful approach of Rhett Miller's solo work. "Snow Angels," "Wintertime in the City," and "Here It Is Christmastime" are rather contemplative by the band's standards, and Miller's lyrics often have as much to do with broken hearts as Santa and the holiday season. But the chatter and growl of Ken Bethea's guitar are more than enough to brand this as Old 97's, and bassist Murry Hammond and drummer Philip Peeples aren't afraid to put some muscle behind tunes like "Gotta Love Being a Kid (Merry Christmas)" and the title track. "Hobo Christmas Song" should please those who want a bit more twang in their mix. The more rollicking numbers also have a strong undercurrent of humor, and if "Rudolph Was Blue" (about a certain reindeer looking for his true love) is awfully goofy, it's also fun and kids will doubtless love it. And while Yuletide albums are often a bit lazy, mostly dealing in the same familiar melodies, the band wrote nine original numbers for Love the Holidays, and if they're not all classics, they give the album a sound and a voice of its own. (The vinyl edition includes one cover, "Auld Lang Syne," while another four -- "Angels We Have Heard on High," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Up on the Housetop," and "Blue Christmas" -- close out the CD and digital releases.) Alt-country fans throwing a Christmas party will find Love the Holidays every bit as welcome as a big batch of spiked eggnog. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Rock - Verschenen op 24 januari 2017 | ATO (UK)

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Rock - Verschenen op 12 december 2016 | ATO (UK)

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Rock - Verschenen op 27 maart 2007 | Rhino - Elektra

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Country - Verschenen op 22 juni 1999 | Idol Records