Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I Believe You Can Rhett My Engine.

Today is Tuesday, meaning that there are new releases. Rhett Miller dropped his second solo project, The Believer, today. A little background on Rhett...he is the voice of the Old 97s and has been working on his solo project since 2002 while maintaining his presence with his them. He hails from Texas, which is stereotypically the heart of country music and inspiration, and you would believe it from listening to his songs. They all have a twangy undertone that is overpowered by a unique rock. This is one of those sounds that you can hear if you're familiar with Rhett's work and just know it's him. It mirrors the Old 97s sound, but has a distinct tag on it that is exclusive to Rhett Miller himself.

The Believer boasts a heavy reliance on strings that makes for a smooth and soothing mood setter. The songs have an old-fashioned flow to them concerning the instrument use that ties in well with the somber lyrical content. "Ain't That Strange" is a track found about halfway through the album, and it's probably one of the more rocked out songs in the entire collection with faster guitar shredding and angrier tones. I also really dig the first play, "My Valentine," and the way it attacks the bitterness of a relationship gone bad, which can also be found in "I Believe She's Lying."

Rhett cites the late Elliott Smith as a big influence, and even wrote the title track of the album as a tribute to him. This album is a must in your collection. I'll probably spin in as I'm winding down for the evening or trying to keep my sanity at my day job. It's a different kind of rock, the kind that makes you feel good about life and hopeful about love, despite all of the outside powers that be. This is some good stuff.

If you want to check it out before purchasing, you can listen to the entire thing streamed on Rhett Miller's MySpace profile. If you want to see him live, then buy tickets...he plays April 5th at the Variety Playhouse. Tickets are $17.50.
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