Chugging along with the Old 97's

July 30th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Old 97's

Rhett Miller knew the question before I asked it.

I wanted to know if the song “Lonely Holiday,” from the Old 97’s excellent 1999 album “Fight Songs,” was indeed about Fayetteville, Ark.

The song starts like this: “It was a lonely holiday … in Fayetteville or in another state/There is so many towns I hate.”

“I wanna ask you about “Lonely Holiday,” I started.

Miller stopped me. “Yeah,” he said. Not an inquisitive ‘yeah,’ but the resigned kind of ‘yeah,’ the one you use when you know you’ve been caught.

Miller told me the song is about this town, but says its told from the prospective of a girlfriend who hates every city her traveling musician boyfriend visits.

As an album, Miller said, “Fight Songs,” is about fighting with his girlfriend.

And he did in fact visit here, although Miller guesses it’s been 10 years since they’ve played in this market. He and his band will remedy that tonight (July 30) with a show tonight at George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville.

In addition to this town, Miller chatted with me about the band’s forthcoming album, “The Grand Theater,” which will be released in two parts. The first, “The Grand Theater, Vol. 1,” will be available Oct. 12; the second, sometime next year.

He also talked about the pressure of being viewed as one of the pioneering bands in the alt-country genre, his growth as a songwriter and the differences between his solo career and the one he’s forged with the Old 97’s.

You can read the story that resulted from the interview in today’s What’s Up! section [Note: subscriber content].

Tickets to tonight’s show are $15 and available at the venue or online.

We’ll see you at the show.

Until then, here’s the Old 97’s doing “Rollerskate Skinny”:

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