Photography by Emily aka Mxyomatosis…
The Old 97s are back, baby! Though, honestly, I never really looked too deep into where they went in the first place! I was a big fan of Fight Songs and I know there were solo albums and, I’m assuming, break-ups and whatnots? But whatever the drama (or lack of), they are back and with a fresh pep in their step, bite in their swagger, and some thrust in their gut with The Grand Theatre Volume One!
What is “thrust in their gut”? Use your imagine, man! *Oomf! Oomf!* As I thrust in your general direction!
Where was we? Oh yeah, The Grand Theatre Volume One.. Volume One, eh? Careful, always trick to start off with a Volume One unless you know for a factoid that Volume Two will see the light of day. See the Traveling Wilburys, as much as I love Volume Three, no Roy Orbison and no Volume Two was a sad dog-ear to one of the best “supergroups” in all of anything.
But, also, Volume One means that Volume Two will most likely be much of the same as Volume One and, if you love this album, awesome, but if that is the case, why not just release it all as The Grand Theatre, a massive honky-tonk inspired double album?
Unless it ain’t recorded yet, then shouldn’t your next album be a move on? A snapshot of where The Old97s are at that point in time, not this point in time? Or are you consciously going to try to make a sequel?
Guess you could do like the movies and make it a trilogy. The first one would be smaller budget, kinda finished at the end, but slightly left open juuuust iiiin case, but it does well, gets a budget and then the second comes out and it’s a bit darker, the “bad guys” get more of an upper hand, but then the 3rd one is the big one, the finale, big budgets, big explosions, big pay-offs, everything wrapped up with a bow??
Our expectations for albums are different than movies. Or are they? Do we all want that slight move on but not too much moved on, but not to be samey at the same time?
(Ir)regardless, The Grand Theatre Volume One is all we got for now and musically it’s tight & to the right. Sounds a bit like Cracker at their more honky-tonk rockin’… It may be a long long time since the days of No Depression / alt.country big hay day, but these guys got their “The stars at night shine big and bright! *clap-clap-clap-clap* Deep in the hearrrrrrrrt of Texas!” embroidered firmly on their jean-jacket sleeves.
And, you know what? That’s a good thing…..
1. The Grand Theatre
2. Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)
3. The Magician
4. You Were Born To Be In Battle
5. The Dance Class
6. Let The Whiskey Take The Reins
7. Champaign, Illinois
8. A State Of Texas
9. You Smoke Too Much
10. Love Is What You Are
11. Please Hold On While The Train Is Moving
12. The Beauty Marks