Rhett Miller | SPACE | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Rhett Miller All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., July 20, 10 p.m. 2012

Old 97's front man Rhett Miller tends to use his solo albums to display a different side of himself, leaving behind his band's high-octane twang for hooky, sophisticated pop rock and writing lyrics (typically about the vagaries and absurdities of romance) that underline his smarts and sense of humor. But on the recent The Dreamer (Maximum Sunshine), his sixth album under his own name, he nearly closes the gap between the two. Its many ballads and midtempo numbers address the usual heartaches and misunderstandings, but electric alt-country—in particular Rich Hinman's aching pedal steel—has seeped into the mostly acoustic arrangements. None of these songs would sound out of place at an Old 97's show, though the performances lack the band's energy (and Miller's production gives the album a surprisingly flat sound). The Dreamer isn't bad, but it feels a bit lifeless—Miller seems to be a little short on inspiration these days. Let's hope he gets well soon. —Peter Margasak

Price: $23-$42

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