This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
OK, let’s get this straight: Rhett Miller hails from Austin, Tex. Most of The Old 97’s live in the Lone Star State. Satellite Rides, their fifth full-length, was even recorded in Willie Nelson’s studio, for Corpus Christi’s sake. So how come this is the band’s least country-sounding album yet?
Sure, it still has plenty of twangy guitars and a two-stepper or three — especially the old-timey barnburner Am I Too Late. But like their ’99 album Fight Songs, most of Satellite Rides skirts around the edges of country, opting instead for poppier roots-rock and Americana. Several cuts even have the sort of wry lyrical wit and crunchy post-punk grit of Paul Westerberg and The Replacements. Thankfully, what hasn’t changed is Miller’s songwriting ability. These 13 tracks are catchy, hooky and totally hummable without sacrificing one iota of quality or craftsmanship. No matter what Old 97’s sound like, you gotta like the sound of that.