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Old 97's

Too Far to Care: 15th Anniversary Edition (Omnivore)

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Oct. 12, 2012

ACL Music Fest Sunday Reviews

Old 97's

Too Far To Care: 15th Anniversary Edition (Omnivore)

Are you ready for some alt.country nostalgia? The Old 97's' major label debut, arguably the Dallas combine's best album, has expanded the original 1997 disc with four bonus tracks, including a gut-busting rendition of Homer Henderson's "Pickin' Up Beer Cans on the Highway." Some of squad leader Rhett Miller's best lines reside on Too Far To Care: "serial lady killer," "I've got time bomb in my mind, mom," and "the streets where I'm from are paved with hearts instead of gold." The red-hot quartet plays with brash confidence, Ken Bethea attacking his guitar and melodies reverberating at every turn. A second disc titled They Made A Monster: The Too Far To Care Demos comes included for fans, and they'll be pleased to know it's available separately. Eleven demos from the original sessions recall Miller and bassist Murry Hammond's acoustic duo, the Ranchero Brothers. Among them, the melancholy "Holy Cross" snaps so taut it's a head-scratcher why it was left off in the first place. Is 15 years too soon? Maybe, but celebrating a fire-eater like Too Far To Care can't happen often enough. (6:15pm, Austin Ventures stage)

****

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