Home Read Albums Of The Week: Rhett Miller | The Misfit

Albums Of The Week: Rhett Miller | The Misfit

The Old 97’s frontman stretches his legs on his first solo set since 2017, venturing beyond his rootsy comfort zone into indie-pop, electronica, psychedelia and more.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Rhett Miller’s new album The Misfit is The Old 97’s frontman’s first solo album in four years. The 11 songs that comprise The Misfit are an elegant blurring of psychedelia, dream-pop and electronic-leaning indie-rock, grounded by the vulnerable songwriting and unaffected vocal presence Miller has perfected as the frontman for his legendary alt-country band over the last three decades.

“Making this album was the closest thing I’d ever experienced to being part of something magic,” Miller explains of the collaborative process with his Hudson Valley neighbor Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby, Sharon Van Etten, Danger Mouse), who co-wrote and co-produced the disc. “As we were working we kept returning to the relationship between David Bowie and Brian Eno and the records they made together, and how fearless they were in their approach to finding the songs.

“It turned into a routine where every morning I’d leave home and drive over the mountain to his house, and by that evening we’d have a rough mix of a new song. The speed of creation was absolutely wild; in some ways I can’t even believe it happened.”

In selecting the cover art for The Misfit, Miller reached out to globally renowned painter Ashley Longshore, with whom he first connected on his podcast Wheels Off. “I knew The Misfit needed a cover that was otherworldly in its colors and its feel, so I contacted Ashley knowing it was a long shot. She connected with the songs, and the piece she created was so beautiful and thoughtful and perfect. It adds a whole new level of artistry to the album, and now anyone who gets the vinyl can have an Ashley Longshore painting of their own.”

The reflective debut single Follow You Home features vocals from Cassandra Jenkins and Annie Nero. “When you’re young, you imagine a perfect scenario for how your life will unfold, and of course it doesn’t turn out that way,” explains Miller. “I never thought I’d live out in the country north of New York City, or that I’d be one of only a handful of middle-class musicians who are able to make a good living. Follow You Home came from wrestling with the idea of home as a place I never would’ve pictured — and yet I can’t imagine having wound up anywhere else.”