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Old 97's Biography


Home > Music > O > Old 97's > Biography


Birth Place: Dallas, Texas, USA
Years Active: 1993–present
Genres: Alt-country, Country Rock, Roots Rock


Old 97's are an alternative country band from Dallas, Texas. They are recognized as pioneers of the alt-country movement during the mid to late 1990s. Most songs are written and sung by lead singer Rhett Miller, with bassist Murry Hammond picking up the vocals on one or two tracks per album. Hammond also handled a number of country covers, especially in the band's earlier years.

Initially a popular Dallas bar band, Old 97's toured the country after releasing their first album, 1994's “Hitchhike to Rhome” and 1995's split EP release “Stoned / Garage Sale” with fellow Dallas band Funland on Idol Records. In Chicago, they caught the attention of Bloodshot Records and were signed to record their next album.

1995's “Wreck Your Life” brought them to the attention of Elektra Records, who issued their next four releases, culminating with 2001’s “Satellite Rides.” The band has never reached the level of success expected of them by the music press and was one of the acts purged from Elektra after the merger of Time Warner and America Online. The band's 2004 album “Drag It Up” was their first on New West Records.

Rhino Entertainment released “Hit by a Train: The Best of Old 97's,” in 2006 as an eighteen track compilation of songs from the band's beginnings through 2001, featuring liner notes and an essay by rock critic Robert Christgau.

Their project, “The Grand Theatre,” was released in two volumes. The first, “The Grand Theatre, Volume One,” was released in October 2010. The second, “The Grand Theatre, Volume Two,” was released in July 2011.

In 2013 the band released an EP containing two tracks with vocals by country music legend Waylon Jennings entitled “Old 97's & Waylon Jennings.”

Old 97’s issued the album, “Most Messed Up,” on ATO Records in 2014. The concept album was recorded with producer Salim Nourallah and includes guest spots from Tommy Stinson and Jon Rauhouse.