Jump to content

Old 97’s Drop New Album, Blame It On Gravity, Plan Summer Tour


Recommended Posts



Fred Mills

It’s been four years since their last studio album, but the Old 97’s are finally set to release Blame It On Gravity, their seventh, on May 13th (New West Records). According to the label it finds them “turning up the amps and returning to the satisfying crunch” that marked Rhett Miller & Co. in the early years. The group’s last studio record was 2004’s Drag It Up, although in the interim there was also a live album and DVD and the group appeared in the Vince Vaughn film The Breakup.

The band credits the new album’s enthusiasm and spark to their return to its native Dallas to record for the first time since their debut independent release. Produced by Salim Nourallah, it taps rock, punk, pop and classic country styles for its sonic motifs. On hand to channel those motifs: guitarist/vocalist Miller, bassist/vocalist Murry Hammond, lead guitarist Ken Bethea and drummer Philip Peeples.

“We went into Salim’s studio hellbent on making something great,” said Miller, in a statement. “I could feel the energy crackling every day we were in there. It’s like we had something to prove. Not just to ourselves, but to the world. Music should be real and meaningful. And while there is a weird, dangerous element to the stories in some of these songs, at its core Blame It On Gravity is a celebration of the brotherhood that is our band and a testament to our belief in the transcendent power of rock and roll.”

The first single, “Dance With Me,” is a romantic, infectious track that showcases Miller’s classic storytelling prowess and can currently be heard at the band’s MySpace page. Other highlights from Miller include “My Two Feet” and “Ride” (which takes listeners on a coast to coast journey to escape an unrequited love) and there’s also a pair of Hammond contributions, “This Beautiful Thing,” and “Color Of A Lonely Heart Is Blue.”

The Old 97’s will appear at SXSW in Austin in a couple of weeks and later in June will launch a three-week club tour.


1. The Fool

2. Dance With Me

3. No Baby I

4. My Two Feet

5. Ride

6. She Loves The Sunset

7. This Beautiful Thing

8. I Will Remain

9. Early Morning

10. The Easy Way

11. Here’s To The Halcyon

12. Color Of A Lonely Heart Is Blue

13. The One

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

From Billboard:

Old 97's Ready 'Epic' New Album


Rhett Miller

Katie Hasty, N.Y.

There seems to be a pattern afoot with Old 97's. Every time the group makes a new album, it is quickly followed by a solo set from frontman Rhett Miller.

And the pattern seems likely to continue this year, as Old 97's' "Blame It on Gravity" will arrive May 13 via New West, and Miller is mulling another solo album.

For Miller, all the new music caps a rocky hiatus from Old 97's and a round of label drama. First, he was dropped from the Verve Forecast artist roster after Universal drastically overhauled the imprint in 2006.

"I know the way the Universal corporation works, with the monthly meetings and the bottom line thing, but I got the phone call while I was holding my infant daughter and someone tells me the record is dead. I sold 30,000 units of it. I was so proud of that record. It was such a devastating moment," Miller relays.

The experience of recording 2004's "Drag It Up" was just as much of a challenge. "I'd say looking back at the last record, there's only two songs that would have made this record. The quality just wasn't there," Miller says. "On 'Drag It Up,' I let the other members run the show; I took a total step back. [1999's] 'Fight Songs' was called that because we fought about everything, and I was pushing everyone. The last one, I didn't push. I just let it happen and then they could feel what it's like to carry the load. Afterward, they were more willing to let me in. I'm the youngest member of the band, so there has always been this push back."

"Blame It on Gravity," according to Miller, is a much more collaborative effort and includes a pair of sole songwriting credits from bassist Murry Hammond ("This Beautiful Thing," and "Color of a Lonely Heart Is Blue"). The set features some more rough-and-tumble tracks reminiscent of the band's earlier records. "I'm so hyperbolic about this freaking record," Miller enthuses. "It's epic and beautiful."

The band is scheduled for a handful of Midwest and Texas performance dates, including June 6 at the Wakarusa Festival in Lawrence, Kan. Miller is also working on a musical based on "A Circle is a Balloon and Compass Both: Stories about Human Love," by writer Ben Greenman.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...