Monday, February 27, 2006

How's my hair?

Play it: Rhett Miller The Believer
It was less a matter of me putting myself into someone's hands and more a matter of me using this system, where I had written these songs, but I was now also interpreting them, like I was Bing Crosby or something.
- Rhett Miller on recording the album
The story goes, producer George Drakoulias (The Jayhawks, Black Crowes, Tom Petty) saw Old 97's frontman Rhett Miller performing his songs solo/acoustic, and he was busting strings, and generally acting frustrated. Drakoulias sees this and decides on the spot that for this album, he should be Frank Sinatra. Lose the guitar, forget that you wrote the songs, and instead just sing and interpret them, backed by a top-notch studio session band.

Forget for a second that the band included friend (and producer of previous album, The Instigator) Jon Brion, the end result sounds like session musicians, quite unlike the 'warts-and-all' appeal of the Old 97s. Other helping hands include Rachel Yamagota (duet on "Fireflies") and Gary Louris (singing backup througout.) His previous album saw Brion holding back on his magic (until the beautiful closer, "Terrible Vision,") whereas this album feels more spit-n-polished then anything he's done. Don't get me wrong, there are some great songs here ("Brand New Way," the Brion/Aimee Mann penned "I Believe She's Lying") it's a bit too MOR of the Adult-Alternative genre.

Miller is now L.A.-based, and his latest photos relect that change. He's ready for his close-up (literally... he's already got the Old 97's appearing in the forthcoming Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn comedy The Break-Up.) Check out that hair! This album has a bit of that hair goop sheen to it, and I'm hoping he washes it out and sleeps on it for the next Old 97's release.

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Isabel said...

Oh, but he looks so hot (okay, I must admit his teeth are about as perfect as Jon Bon Jovi's. And his are PERFECXT!)

drake leLane said...

I will admit it, as much as one man can admit another's hotness.

No teeth in all the promo photos for the album, though... what gives?