The Old 97's performing in 2008
|Origin||Dallas, Texas, USA|
|Associated acts||Sleepy Heroes
The Old 97's are an alternative country band from Dallas, Texas. Formed in 1993, they have since released nine studio albums, two full extended plays, shared split duty on another, and have one live album. Their most recent release is The Grand Theatre, Volume Two. They are recognized as pioneers of the alt-country movement during the mid to late 1990s along with bands such as Uncle Tupelo, Drive-By Truckers, Whiskeytown, The Jayhawks, and The Bottle Rockets.
Initially a popular Dallas bar band, the 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 hoped that alt-country could be a new post-grunge fad. Lead singer Rhett Miller, born in Austin, later lived in New York City and Los Angeles. Many of the band's songs include local Texas references, with New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago appearing as well.
Most songs are written and sung by 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. Hammond also performs gospel at his local church. The band's 2004 album Drag It Up also includes a song written and sung by guitarist Ken Bethea, "Coahuila."
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. In 2005, Blender magazine ranked the band's most successful single, 1999's "Murder (Or A Heart Attack)", as the 176th greatest song "since you were born." However, more recently, their music has been featured in a number of hit movies and TV series, including The Break-Up ("Salome", "Melt Show", "Timebomb"), Ed ("Question", "King of All the World"), Scrubs ("Question"), and Veronica Mars ("Adelaide", "Four-Leaf Clover", "The New Kid").
Rhett Miller has recorded four solo albums, with 2002's The Instigator receiving substantial airplay on alternative-oriented radio stations. He toured with Neil Finn in 2004. Miller's second major commercial album, The Believer, was released in February 2006. Murry Hammond's solo album, I Don't Know Where I'm Going But I'm on My Way, was released April 21, 2008.
The Old 97's have been heralded as a great live band, although they claim never to rehearse their act. They included five live songs as a bonus disc on Satellite Rides, and released a live double CD set recorded at historic Gruene Hall in 2005, Alive & Wired.
Rhino Entertainment released Hit by a Train: The Best of Old 97's, an eighteen track compilation of songs from the band's beginnings through 2001, featuring liner notes and an essay by rock critic Robert Christgau.
Satellite Riders is faux "tribute band." It's actually an alias the band performs under when contractual obligations prevent them from using the Old 97's name. The recording of "Timebomb" from the live album Alive & Wired was made available for download along with other alt-country songs for the music video games Rock Band and Rock Band 2.
Their current project, The Grand Theatre, was released in two volumes. The first The Grand Theatre, Volume One was released on October 12, 2010. The second The Grand Theatre, Volume Two was released on July 5, 2011.
- Rhett Miller – lead vocals, rhythm guitar and lyrics, mouth trumpet on "Designs On You"
- Murry Hammond – bass guitar, occasional lead vocals, backup vocals
- Ken Bethea – lead guitar, backup vocals, lead vocals on "Coahuila"
- Philip Peeples – drums and backup vocals
|1994||Hitchhike to Rhome||Idol Records|
|1995||Stoned / Garage Sale (with Funland)|
|Wreck Your Life||Bloodshot Records|
|1997||Too Far to Care||Elektra Records|
|2000||Early Tracks||Bloodshot Records|
|2001||Satellite Rides||121||Elektra Records|
|2004||Drag It Up||120||New West Records|
|2005||Alive & Wired|
|2006||Hit by a Train: The Best of Old 97's||Rhino Entertainment|
|2008||Blame It on Gravity||New West Records|
|2009||Wreck Your Life... And Then Some:
The Complete Bloodshot Recordings (Vinyl Only) 
|2010||Mimeograph EP||New West Records|
|The Grand Theatre, Volume One|
|2011||The Grand Theatre, Volume Two|
|2012||Too Far to Care: Expanded Edition||Omnivore Recordings|
- 2005: Old 97's Live (New West Records)
- "Old 97's Biography". starpulse.com. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born: 151-200". Blender. October 2005.
- "IMDB". Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- "Music". Official Community of Rhett Miller. Archived from the original on 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- "Q&A: Murry Hammond of Old 97's". Retrieved 2008-02-16.
- LAVASSAR, MA'CHELL DUMA (2008-08-27). "Satellite Riders". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
- "Rock Band Gets a Second Dose of Country Plus a 3-Pack From Jimmy Eat World". Harmonix. 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
- "Discography". Official Community of Old 97's. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- Old 97's Official web site
- Old 97's on Myspace
- Official Rhett Miller Website
- Hit By A Train, Fansite
- July 2009 Interview with L.A.Record