The Grand Theatre Vol. 1
"Take ya to the Tate Museum," sneers Rhett Miller on his band's eighth LP, begging a question: Why would Dallas twang rockers name-check a British tourist attraction — over a Clash-style guitar stomp, no less? It's because the Old 97's have always been Anglophiles, and 15 years into their career, they're past genre-tweaking — they're lifers writing for keeps. Bob Dylan may have recognized as much when he greenlighted Miller's inspired rewrite of "Desolation Row" (the carpe-diem warning "Champaign, Illinois"). But this multivolume project will still trigger honky-tonk mosh pits: See "A State of Texas," which suggests you can be true to your roots even when you've outgrown them.
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