With all the pomp and drama that never seem to fade from fellow '90s alt-country survivors like Ryan Adams and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, Rhett Miller of Dallas's Old 97's tends to get overlooked. Really, though, that's how it should be. While Miller's band has never been short on fans, the Old 97's reliable, steady-as-she-goes attitude has produced a far more consistent and approachable body of work over the years than any of Miller's higher-profile contemporaries have ever mustered. The group's latest album, 2010's The Grande Theatre, Volume One, is no exception; one of the liveliest, catchiest sets Miller has yet yanked out of his heart, the disc boasts the hushed drunkenness of "Let the Whiskey Take the Reins," the fuzzy power pop of "Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)" — and even the rousing, rootsy stomp of "A State of Texas," a song that's just as suited to serve as Texas's official anthem as much as the Old 97's own.
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