Photo by Jason Quigley
Rhett Miller’s album titles give a clue to what’s on his mind: The Instigator, The Believer, The Dreamer, and now The Traveler. As the frontman for the Old 97’s, he’s a rock ‘n’ roll lifer, and the most recent 97’s record chronicled the ups-and-downs of his two decades as a performer.
On The Traveler, Miller ventured back to his earliest roots. Talking with KUTX’s Jody Denberg, he described himself as a “weird, sensitive” teenager who almost gave up on living until R.E.M came along. “[Lifes Rich Pageant] kinda saved my life,” Miller said. “It taught me that music is as good a reason as anything, and I decided to devote my life to making it.” Fittingly, The Traveler has an R.E.M.-inspired jangle to it, courtesy of the backing band–and Decemberists side project–Black Prairie. And in tribute to that formative moment, Miller continues his open-hearted form of songwriting, where something as simple as a love song like “Most In The Summertime” can be revolutionary. Download an acoustic version of the song below, and listen to his guest DJ episode here.