Coolest Bands You Might Not Know: Old 97’s

(part 1 of an ongoing series)

The Old 97's.

Background:

Truth be told, I don’t know much about the Old 97’s.

What I do know is that they play the only kind of country music that I care for.

You should know that the Old 97’s don’t play anything resembling the “new country” one sees while flipping past CMT. Instead, they’re the kind of band you would expect on stage at one of those redneck bars; the kind you see in movies, complete with chicken wire fence to protect the band from the beer bottles hurled in their direction.

Still, the 97’s maintain a sense of sophistication through their well-crafted songs and literate lyrics.

Early in their career, twangy guitars and drawled Texas vocals dominated their sound.Much of their musical output from this time is split between frantically paced folk-rockabilly tunes and legitimately great pop songs wrapped in a country twang.

It’s the sound of pure Dallas, Texas.

Later on, they expanded their sound to include a wider range of styles, even departing away from their early country sound. And while their later albums have some very good material, it’s their earlier stuff that calls to me.

I can’t even recall how I first heard of them, but they look to have a huge following in the American south. If they ever come up to Canada (again?), they’re definitely a band that’s on my list to see.

If you like ______________, you might like Old 97’s.:

Artists:

  • Neil Young
  • Hank Williams
  • Johnny Cash

Albums:

  • Kings of Leon – Youth and Young Manhood
  • Wilco – A.M.
  • Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street

Good starting point:

Hitchike to Rhome (1994).

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