Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., July 13, 2012
Rhett MillerThe Dreamer (Maximum Sunshine)
The difference between Rhett Miller the solo artist and Rhett Miller the singer for the Old 97's is subtle. A turn toward a more twang-infused sound on his sixth solo disc makes the distinction even more elusive. Readily apparent is that his work away from the band tends toward the delicate, a folk-pop blend with the occasional, undeniably ingenious couplet that's become his trademark. This time it's "She had a prominent nose, she took off all her clothes" from "Sleepwalkin'." Jokes aside, Miller explores his sensitive side while also composing some of his warmest melodies. A duet with Rosanne Cash, "As Close As I Came to Being Right" finds them doing their best Conway Twitty/Loretta Lynn. Toward The Dreamer's end, the Dallas maverick sums things up with near dirge "Complicated Man." Singing "I'm a mystery to myself" over a lonely guitar explains a great deal, and for that we're grateful, since complicated mysteries rarely sound so sweet.