Rhett Miller: “Lost Without You”
While Rhett Miller might be primarily known as the frontman for alternative country stalwarts the Old 97′s, it’s hard to box him in. That’s because Miller has always followed his muse wherever it leads him, even if it means taking time away from his band to play songs that don’t drawl with countryfied accents. His new solo album, The Dreamer, once again puts his varied songwriting in the spotlight.
The Dreamer is LP number five for Miller himself–that is, if you count Mythologies, Miller’s “debut” made in his teenage bedroom in Dallas with fellow future Old 97 Murry Hammond. It should be counted, because on Mythologies Miller indulged in his love of Brit-pop, a musical theme that has showed up repeatedly in his songwriting. Even if his songs are dressed up in boots and cowboy hats, there’s often a strong melodic element that recalls the British invasion more than Johnny Cash.
The Dreamer continues this trend, and Miller even receives input from some other heavy-hitting songwriters. Rosanne Cash and Rachel Yamagata duet with Miller on a pair of tracks, and he co-wrote album lead-off “Lost Without You” with fellow Texan Ben Kweller. “Lost Without You” is a rootsy affair, connecting the dots between Miller’s past solo work and the raucous energy of the Old 97′s. Even if he couldn’t have imagined it all those years ago, Miller might just inspire a new generation of bedroom songwriters.