Already widely loved for his work as frontman and main songwriter of the hard-charging rock 'n' roll quartet the Old 97's (of which he is still a member), Miller revealed a more introspective side with his acclaimed 2002 solo debut The Instigator. The Believer takes its predecessor's achievements several steps further, with a dozen deeply-felt, craftily melodic tunes that demonstrate the Texas-bred artist's knack for using accessible songcraft to address complex emotional issues.
Miller continues to balance his solo endeavors with his membership in the Old 97's. The still-active quartet has released seven albums since 1994 (the latest being the live set Alive and Wired) "I love to rock, but it's liberating not to always have to keep up with the freight train that is the Old 97's," Miller says of his dual musical careers. "Making The Believer, I felt like I didn't have to answer to anybody. Part of that was because I'd proven that I could do both, and part of it was because the guys in the band have been so cool about it. After ten years, we're beyond the bullshit. The other guys all have lives and families, so now we're at a point where we can do the Old 97's for the rest of our lives, but we don't have to do it every day."
" his strongest set yet. Miller brings plenty of hooks. 4 stars" Rolling Stone Magazine
"his best solo effort yet" Performing Songwriter Magazine
"If you haven't checked out Miller before, it's time." MSNBC
"there's no shortage of catchiness and even a little cheekiness. 3 out of 4 stars." People Magazine
"It's an ambitious album that finds Miller really stretching himself as a songwriter" All Music Guide
"Rhett will not turn in his charm card anytime soon." Alternative Press Magazine
"On his fourth solo album, local musical hero Rhett Miller brings to mind a young Elvis Costello" - Dallas Morning News
"Now's the time to put Rhett Miller on your radar." Everhip.com
ALEX DEZEN OF THE DAMNWELLS
Formed in 2001 as a full-fledged band, the Damnwells gradually came to represent the songwriting efforts of singer/guitarist Alex Dezen, whose mix of alt-country and alternative pop/rock remained consistent despite frequent lineup shifts. The group took root in Brooklyn, where Dezen (a former photo assistant) was joined by ex-Whiskeytown drummer Steven Terry, bassist Ted Hudson, and guitarist Dave Chernis. A series of EPs helped cement the band's sound, and the Damnwells soon found themselves touring in support of Cheap Trick. A brief run with the Portland-based label In Music We Trust followed, allowing the band to re-release one of its early EPs (with the addition of one new track) under the revised title PMR + 1. The Damnwells then decamped to their Manhattan Mini Storage space, which doubled as a rehearsal space and makeshift studio, to fashion a full-length album. Pairing Dezen's slow, codeine-laced ballads with uptempo rock numbers, they completed Bastards of the Beat before inking a contract with Epic Records.
In a rare display of confidence, Epic released Bastards of the Beat in 2003 without any major revisions, allowing both the band's artwork and track list to remain intact. When the Damnwells returned to the studio two years later, however, they found themselves dropped from Epic's roster, an incident that was later captured on the documentary Golden Days. After months of uncertainty, the band found a new home at Zoe/Rounder Records and issued Air Stereo in late 2006. The record widened the Damnwells' sound with lap steel, piano, and sublime harmonies, while a tour alongside the Fray furnished the band with large audiences. Sales for Air Stereo were lackluster, however, leading several members to leave the band's lineup.
In 2008, Alex Dezen announced that the band's original formation had permanently disbanded. He subsequently enrolled as an M.F.A. candidate at the University of Iowa, where he participated in the acclaimed Iowa Writers' Workshop. Meanwhile, he continued recording music with a revised version of the Damnwells, which now included drummer Andrew Ratcliffe, bassist Adrian Dickey, and producer/guitarist Freddy Wall. When it came time to release One Last Century, the band's third album, Dezen chose to bypass record labels altogether by partnering with Paste Magazine, which offered the album as a free digital download. ~ Andrew Leahey, All Music Guide
High Noon Saloon (View)
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