Old 97's - Twelfth Colored Vinyl LP
Old 97's Twelfth Colored Vinyl LP
Old 97's, the iconic alt-country outfit fronted by Rhett Miller, returns on ATO Records with their twelfth album! Twenty-seven years in, Old 97's still features its original lineup – Miller, guitarist Ken Bethea, bassist Murry Hammond, and drummer Philip Peeples – and Twelfth is a testament to the band's staying power. The album's cover image of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach is both an homage to Miller's childhood hero and a recognition that, in making their livings as musicians, the 97's themselves have achieved their lifelong dreams.
Loose and raw, the record is an ecstatic celebration of survival, a resounding ode to endurance and resilience from a veteran group that refuses to rest on their considerable laurels. Working out of Sputnik Sound in Nashville, Miller and his longtime bandmates teamed up once again with Grammy-winning producer Vance Powell (Chris Stapleton, Jack White), and while the resulting album boasts all the hallmarks of a classic Old 97's record (sex and booze, laughter and tears, poetry and blasphemy), it also showcases a newfound perspective in its writing and craftsmanship, a maturity and appreciation that can only come with age and experience. Perhaps the band is growing up; maybe they're just getting started. Either way, Old 97's have never been happier to be alive.
While Miller collaborated with writers like Butch Walker and Nicole Atkins on Graveyard Whistling, he penned everything on Twelfth himself (outside of the Spaghetti Western-esque "Happy Hour" and hypnotic album closer "Why Don't We Ever Say We're Sorry," which were both written and sung by Hammond). It's a return to form he credits in part to his increasing comfort with sobriety, a comfort that finds him effortlessly running the gamut from playful romance (the dreamy "I Like You Better") and brash bravado (the blistering "Confessional Boxing") to supernatural fantasy (the Kinks-ian "This House Got Ghosts") and old-school twang (the rollicking "Bottle Rocket Baby").
It's perhaps the jaunty "Absence (What We've Got)" that captures this particular moment in Old 97's history best, though, as Miller marvels at the way things change while staying the same. "The wine turns into whiskey / And the whiskey turns to tears / It's been this way for years," he sings, later summing the whole magic act up with a deceptively simple confession: "This is what I do."
Old 97's Twelfth Track Listing:
1. The Dropouts
2. This House Got Ghosts
3. Turn Off The TV
4. I Like You Better
5. Happy Hour
6. Belmont Hotel
7. Confessional Boxing
8. Diamonds On Neptune
9. Our Year
10. Bottle Rocket Baby
11. Absence (What We've Got)
12. Why Don't We Ever Say We're Sorry
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