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Too Far to Care

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Album Review

Serving as the ideal apex between the Old 97's' Texas twang and smart pop fascinations, Too Far to Care is instantly catchy and endearing, channeling heartbreaking desert soul and punk-fueled swagger all at the same time. Chief songwriter Rhett Miller turns a phrase like a doorknob and opens doors to dusty barrooms and tattered bedrooms, both containing the same boozy characters in various states of emotional undress. The initial blast of "Timebomb" carries through the first three songs, relenting finally in the breathy croon of "Salome," accented warmly by bassist Murry Hammond's light harmonies and guitarist Ken Bethea's airy tremolo-heavy guitar. Other highlights include the high-speed chase of "Melt Show," the reckless surge of "House That Used to Be," and their confident re-recording of "Big Brown Eyes" (originally appearing on their 1995 album Wreck Your Life). Throughout the album, Miller's swooning howl aches with too many miles on the road and too many lonely nights — familiar topics to be sure, but he still manages to tackle them like he invented heartache. The curse of Old 97's may be that country fans consider it too rock & roll, and rock fans can't get past the twang, but for those who dip both feet into these streams, it really doesn't get any better than this band and this album.

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Dallas, TX

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Although they became one of the most enduring bands in the alternative country-rock catalog, Old 97's drew inspiration from a broad range of genres, including the twangy stomp of cowpunk and the melodies of power pop. Formed in 1993 by frontman Rhett Miller and bassist Murry Hammond, the group spent the bulk of the decade posed on the brink of mainstream success, issuing albums that often drew warm reviews but never yielded a substantial hit. Old 97's tightened their sound as the decade drew to a...
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Too Far to Care, Old 97's
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