Music » Livewire

Rhett Miller & the Believers

With Ali Eskandrian. Saturday, June 24, at the Beachland Ballroom.


Paul Westerberg is often held up as the gold standard of indie songwriting for the smart, rebellious melancholia he wedded to the Replacements' ragged rock, but a far better exemplar is Old 97s frontman Rhett Miller. But in spite of the canny wit of his Delillo-inspired "World Inside the World" and the literate, rumbling rave-up "Our Love," Miller's much-awaited solo debut, The Instigator, failed to achieve commercial impact, although it was well written and far superior to subsequent Old 97s albums.

Miller's solo follow-up, The Believer, feels a bit canned by comparison. But crisper, acoustic versions of several of the songs -- available elsewhere -- suggest that the magic got lost in the studio gloss. Like watching a friend go through a painful surgery, one hopes Miller will recover soon and get back to offering his deft, thoughtful country-rock on an indie label more appreciative of his gift.

Add a comment