By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 28, 2006 6:41PM
Rhett Miller has spent quite a bit of time in Chicago. Between his band The Old 97's recording albums with local engineer Chuck Uchida, and constant touring that always seemed to treat Chicago as more of a home base than his native Dallas, we could be forgiven for viewing him as a bit of a homeboy. In recent years old homeboy has made a few grabs at pop stardom spending a decent amount of time growing a solo identity apart from the band that made him famous. And who could fault him? Wouldn't you trade in country licks for Gap ads and mainstream adoration? We probably would, especially if a supermodel wife was thrown in to sweeten the deal.
So Miller's new disc The Believer drops today and it sounds awfully similar to his last solo outing The Instigator, albeit with a title containing one less syllable. Overall though the disc is more of the middle of the road faceless, harmless pop we heard on the first album that will neither threaten nor challenge. To be honest we probably wouldn't give the disc a second spin at all if it weren't for a little gem buried in-between all the filler. The track "Fireflies" features a lovely duet with Chicago gal Rachael Yamagata, and she gives Miller a run for his money by pretty much stealing the whole show by virtue of only a handful of lines.
This got us to thinking, though, that it's been quite a while since we actually heard anything from Ms Yamagata. Oh wait, didn't she sing a duet with Ryan Adams last year? Waitaminute...are we detecting a trend here? So now that's two sort of washed-up ex-insurgent country types using Ms Yamagata to goose up their tunes? And didn't she do a duet with Toots too? It is a trend!
So we're making a public plea here: Would all of you second-rate types stop eating up Ms Yamagata's time and distracting her so she can just get around to finally recording her sophomore effort? No fair trying to snake out her talent for your own uses, boys.