Five Reasons You Should Listen to the Old 97’s

The idea for this post has been rolling around in my head for a while now, but seeing as I was nearly in a horrific car accident (it was merely pretty scary) in a snow storm today, I thought I’d get it out of me. No time like the present. Are you ready? Cause it’s fan-girl time!

The Old 97’s are, in a word, spectacular. Some might criticize my musical taste as “off-beat” or “too eclectic”, but whatever it’s impeccable, you know it, just admit it. And I love the Old 97’s. I love them. From the tip of Rhett Miller’s head to the toe of Murry Hammond’s boot. I spent my 30th birthday at the TLA in Philly watching them with two of my esteemed Geekenfreude colleagues and it was one of the best I’ve ever had. This year marked the 15th anniversary of their album Too Far to Care, and as my own personal bit of tribute, I’m giving you 5 songs from it that are more than enough reason for you to buy it now. Amazon has it, for $9.99, which really isn’t much to pay for joy.

Picking out just 5 songs from this album is super-tough for me, not to mention the songs from their 8 other full-lengths and 2 EPs. I really, seriously love this band. I can’t even rank them, so I’ll list the songs in the order they appear on the album, okay? They aren’t really a making videos sort of group and the quality of live-show sound isn’t always superb, so I’ll apologize for the fan-made slideshow-y stuff that may follow.


What a perfect little slice of cowboy punk. Nobody slipped and fell dancing like a crazy-person to this song at the aforementioned 30th birthday show. Nobody at all, didn’t take anyone else down with them either. Nope.

“Barrier Reef”

This song makes me feel drunk. Day-drunk into night-drunk where you just don’t stop and pass through fun to bitter to weird to fun-drunk again. Screw it you guys, snow day! Let’s get drunk!

“W. TX Teardrops”

This may not be everyone’s cuppa, but bassist Murry Hammond takes the mic for a least one or two songs an album, the more traditional country stuff being his bag. And I like it like Hank Williams, Sr. liked his booze. Lots.

“Big Brown Eyes”

This one’s kind of changeable, I could have easily gone “House that Used to Be” or “Melt Show” or “Streets of Where I’m From” or I guess really any other song. But I recently had a pair of big brown eyes come into my life, and leave maybe a little too quickly, so I’m feeling it. “You made a big impression for a girl of your size,” and all.

“Four Leaf Clover

This one had appeared before on Hitchhike to Rhome, but the making it a duet with punk legend Exene Cervenka made it classic. Seriously, turn it up, scream it out, you’ll either feel better or want to murder someone, either way it’s amazing.

So what are you waiting for? Go to you music buying source of choice and download their whole catalog. Rhett Miller and his pretty-like-a-lady blue eyes will just be here, staring into your soul, waiting for you (even when you click away, they’ll still be here, watching). What else were you doing with your day?

He sees you.

2 thoughts on “Five Reasons You Should Listen to the Old 97’s

  1. Were you just picking songs from that one album? It makes me sad that there are no songs on here from “Fight Songs”, which is just a tremendous album. Also, I’m glad you reassured everyone that no one fell while “Time Bomb” was on…. no, no one at all….

    • Yes, just from Too Far to Care, a post on all of them, I discovered, would get really long. Maybe someone else could take Fight Songs?

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