Monday, January 17, 2011

The greatest band you've never heard of...

... at the greatest venue you know and love.

Being just a few miles up the tracks from the Belly Up is one of the things that makes Encinitas such a perfect place to live.

My favorite little band, the Old 97's, play there Wednesday. They're billed as alt-country, which is the industry term for what I call cowboy rock.

Here's what I wrote about them back in 2005:

I just got back from an Old 97's show. I've listened to this band's recorded music for three or four years now, and finally got to see them live. It was worth the wait.

The Old 97's are cowboy rock. The closest well-known band I could compare them to is the Rolling Stones on their country-most songs, like Sweet Virginia and Dead Flowers.

The show was at the Independent on Divisadero Street, pretty much San Francisco's smallest music venue that's bigger than pub-size. Catch this band now, while they are still playing venues this small. They have been playing for more than 10 years, but they are going to get some big exposure in a Hollywood film next summer.

Check out some Old 97's tunes online. Try Barrier Reef, Victoria, and West Texas Teardrops for a start. Then go buy the albums. And if they come to your town, see them live.

The songs all have catchy hooks that should have got these guys on the radio, and the lyrics are edgy and smart. And there's a fun little rivalry between frontman Rhett Miller who is kind of a pretty boy pop star and bassist Murry Hammond, who's a Texas good ol' boy.

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