Brian Mylar's Americana Music Blog: Old 97's at Gruene Hall

Americana Band mixes rock, country, plays to sold-out audience


GRUENE, Texas - SeaWorld has signage in its water arenas warning patrons in the first few rows that they are likely to get wet.


The same should be true at Gruene Hall when the Old 97's play -- lead singer Rhett Miller is likely to get so worked up that he may fling sweat to the rafters before the show is over.

The Old 97's appeared at Gruene Hall the first Friday of February and the place was packed.

The band originated in Dallas but has been all over the place and has recorded far and wide.

Rhett Miller and bassist Murry Hammond first got together in the late 1980s. Which is strange, because the energetic Miller, with his Zac Efron-esque hair flopping wildly, jumps around on stage like a teenager.

Even if he was a teenager in 1990 when the band was getting started, that would still put him in his 30s now.

And believe me, he doesn't act like a man in his 30s.

One other thing that might merit a mention is that they like to play LOUD! My right ear was still ringing a day after the show because I was too close to the speakers.

A good biography of the band is available here .

Here's what was written on the band's website about their Gruene Hall appearance:

"The Old 97′s played historic Gruene Hall this past Friday night, returning for the first time since the recording of the double live album Alive & Wired oh so many years ago. It wasn’t quite as sweltering as those summer dates, but remarkably hot nonetheless, in every sense of the word. The sold-out crowd was a fun mix of Austin hipsters, San Marcos Greeks, and a good number of us 'old enough to know better' types."

If you're going to sample some of their music, here are a few of my favorites from over the years: "A State of Texas" on The Grande Theatre Volume One, "Rollerskate Skinny" and "Book of Poems" on Satellite Rides and "Nineteen," "Indefinitely" and "Oppenheimer" from Fight Songs.

Good luck, happy listening and may the Old 97's continue to play to appreciative audiences everywhere and especially here in South Texas.


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