Personalities | Old ’97s | Alt. Country & The Bluegrass Revival

(Vocal/instrumental group, 1993–present)

The Old ’97s named themselves, when they formed in Dallas in 1993, after Johnny Cash’s version of the 1906 train-wreck ballad, ‘The Wreck Of The Old 97’. But the group’s chief songwriters, Rhett Miller (vocals, guitar, b. 1970) and Murry Hammond, seemed influenced as much by the pop-punk of The Replacements as by Cash or Gram Parsons. Miller had a knack for jangly melodic hooks, and those hooks were surrounded by country twang and punk momentum on early records such as 1995’s Wreck Your Life. As the years wore on, though, the Old ’97s became a good but more conventional rock band.

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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen


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