Artist Spotlight: Old 97’s

-Hilton Peeples, Assistant Festival Director

The Old 97’s have been “doing it longer than I’ve been alive.” Literally. They were formed in 1993. These guys are an American alternative-country band from Dallas, Texas. They’re made up of Rhett Miller (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Murry Hammond (backup vocals, bass), Ken Bethea (lead guitar, backup vocals), and Philip Peeples (drums). Most songs are written and sung by Miller, with bassist Murry Hammond typically picking up the lead vocals on one or two tracks per album.

In my opinion, they bring together the perfect mix of rock & roll and Country, all to create something beautiful and incredibly unique. Miller’s songwriting is something to be envied. His solo albums are a bit more mellow than the rock and roll sounds of the Old 97’s, but it is just as captivating. His solo album, “The Instigator,” gained major airplay in 2002 and was closely followed by “The Believer” in 2006. Bandmate Murry Hammond’s solo album, “I Don’t Know Where I’m Going But I’m on My Way,” was released 2008.  Their music together and solo is unlike anything else.

Their new album, “Graveyard Whistling,” comes at you from every direction and a different tone with each song. The song “Good with God” off this newest  album features Brandi Carlile as the voice of God; if you’ve ever listened to her, you know how fitting this is. Carlile & Miller have two of the most beautiful voices in music today and together they come together to create something that you can’t forget.  Another favorite from the same album is “Irish Whiskey Pretty Girls,” which is a bit off the beaten path for the Old 97’s. It has more of a fun Irish/Country sound to it. One thing is for sure though: Rhett & the boys hit the ball out of the park with “Graveyard Whistling.”

The Old 97’s have grown to be one of the most influential Alt Country bands of their time. They have for sure influenced all the up and coming artists that we love at The Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival!

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