So, this time around, as the band was looking for tracks to add to the eight or so songs they were holding over from the first volume, he forced the issue. Kind of.

"I set up a trap for him to walk into," Bethea says, with a laugh. "We were going over other songs to consider for the second volume, and I pitched it to Murry. I said to him, 'There's got to be a song that we've got that's just out there.' I'm just setting him up. And he goes, 'Ivy!' And I go, 'Great idea!' So I call [producer] Salim [Nourallah], and he got on board. It's just got great lyrics—some of Rhett's best."

That story helps make sense of how The Grand Theatre, Vol. Two came together in the first place. Already pleased with the pool of songs they'd held over from the first volume, the band simply set out to beef up those songs and to ensure the songs around those tracks complemented them. In a sense, none of the songs are new—the band's been stewing on the Grand Theatre batch for well more than a year, and they've been messing with some of them even longer.

There's more to the Old 97's than those two guys up front.
Paul Moore
There's more to the Old 97's than those two guys up front.

Location Info


Sons of Hermann Hall

3414 Elm St.
Dallas, TX 75226

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Downtown & Deep Ellum

"A lot of bands will go back and listen to things and say, 'Well, this sucks. Let's start over,'" Peeples says. "We always try to work with what we've got."

Fast approaching two decades of existence, the band's "got" plenty. And, with their ninth studio full-length, they also have another highly enjoyable listen. They're aging not only gracefully, but well. Kind of like a white port.

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After the great Too Far to Care, both Rhett and Murry lost their way. There were thoughts of getting more poppy, expanding the audience, which is what Electra Records wanted and when it didn't happen, the band got the boot. In between Too Far and The Grand Theatre, there may be one album of good songs, maybe. And some of the stuff is plum awful. Oppenheimer? Please. But it's good to see the band doing what they've always done best. And Murry should get more songs. I still say he's the best songwriter in the band.


I still love Blame it on Gravity also. I think it was brilliant.I also love The Grand Theatre, but I don't think their sound needed rehabilitation, as some reviews seem to imply! The band is consistently brilliant, as far as I'm concerned.


Great review and interview @petefreedman, but am I the only one who loved/still loves Blame It On Gravity?

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