When I first had the idea to start a Web talk show at my house, I had plans to focus on local musicians that I thought were special and amazing. I wanted to do my part in helping them gain exposure and extend their reach on the Internet. I had some dreams about big names that might someday come over and do an episode, but really considered that to be in the very far future, if at all. One of the biggest of those names was Rhett Miller, the talented and charismatic lead singer of the Old 97's and a solo artist in his own right. I was thrilled when Rhett agreed to an interview back in April when he was coming to Austin for his Unplugged at the Grove gig. But alas, that was not meant to be. His connecting flight in Detroit was canceled the night before, which shifted his schedule, and understandably, I was bumped. Rhett promised to reschedule, and as luck would have it, we were to be in NYC at the same time, Rhett with his Old 97's bandmates for a four-night stand at Maxwell's in Hoboken, and me going to Manhattan to do some research at The New York Times. So, I took the show on the road. Rhett took time out from his busy schedule (he did press at CNN on the morning of my interview, and had played three of the four Hoboken shows as well as a Philly show that week) to have a delightful chat with me. And, he played two songs from his brand new, self-titled, solo CD, demonstrating his incredible talent and energy in an intimate, stripped-down, unamped, unmic'd setting. Please enjoy the three-part interview and performances below. I know I did!
If you have a chance to see Rhett or the Old 97's, or, better yet, both at the same time on this current tour, grab it. They have an impressive body of work and really know how to deliver a fun performance. See pics and video from the two shows I saw in Hoboken here and here.
Part I - Rhett talks about his new CD and the Hoboken four-show residency An Evening with the Old 97's.
Part II - Rhett talks about the Old 97's forthcoming covers EP, being on the season finale of 30 Rock and using Twitter.
Part III - More on Twitter, fleeing NYC after 9/11 and his favorite things to do in Manhattan.
I Need to Know Where I Stand