Rhett Miller, if nothing else, should be commended for being quite the active reader. Dude does his homework, that's all I'm saying. First time he and I ever spoke, just a few weeks into my gig here at the Dallas Observer, just how curious an information-seeker he was caught me completely off-guard. He had no reason to know much about me, but, nonetheless, he knew plenty, clearly having gleaned some information--where I'd come from, how old I was--from the few things I'd had printed in the paper by that time. It was impressive.
So maybe it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Miller's also an avid reader of the Lefsetz Letter, the insider music business newsletter produced by its namesake, Bob Lefsetz. Nor, really, should it be much of a surprise that Rhett, after reading an interview Lefsetz conducted with another St. Mark's graduate and musician named Miller (some joker named Steve) about the craft of songwriting, wrote in to express his appreciation of the piece. Lefsetz was pleased enough with Rhett's note that he went ahead and printed it. So, too, did Old 97's fansite Hit By A Train, where you can read the thing in full. But, really, here's the important part from Miller's note:
My band Old 97's go into the studio next week to make another album for New West Records. The label is flush with money and pride from the success of the Crazy Heart soundtrack. Good people who work hard.
"Is it true?" Nourallah asked, with tongue no doubt planted in cheek for all of a second. "Yes, it's true."
It gets far more interesting, though. After the jump, Nourallah offers up some details on the plans he and the band have made for the new disc.
"We're renting out Sons of Hermann Hall," Nourallah concedes. "And we're gonna move a bunch of recording equipment there."
The 97's, of course, are in town this week, for a performance on Friday night at the MusInk Festival. But, come Sunday, Nourallah expects a small crew to start setting up Sons for recording. Come Monday, the recording process will hopefully be underway, he says.
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"It's a pretty sprawling plan for this record, which is kind of interesting," Nourallah shares. "We're gonna start in Sons and then reconvene in Austin... and then we're gonna bring it back to [Nourallah's home studio] Pleasantry Lane."
Kind of a long process? No doubt. but Nourallah believes it's all worth it.
"I think people are starting to realize that this is kind of a semi-legendary band in Texas," he says. "We don't want to put out a bad album."
Also of note: At the end of next week's recording schedule, Nourallah has a gig planned at Sons on Saturday, April 17, billed as "Salim Nourallah and Special Guests." On the bill? Nourallah, a longtime product of his Pleasantry Lane studios, San Antonio's Buttercup, and a band called--and here's where it gets interesting--Rhomin' Hitchhikers. Rhome, huh? Kind of mysterious. Except, not really: The Facebook invite for the event is pretty up front about what it means with its not-so-hidden "(aka the Old 97's)" note about who, exactly, the Rhomin' Hitchhikers are.