Finally(!) that whole falling in love and getting married thing has worked to my advantage… in the form of Rhett Miller and his first solo record entitled The Instigator (release date: September 24, 2002).
The last time we saw Rhett, he was fronting the ever-kick-ass alternative outfit, the Old 97's. He was unmarried and the bulk of the songs had an infectious undertone of bachelorhood and heartbreak. In the year and a wedding (his) since that last Old 97's release, Rhett has produced an album which is obviously the product of a man in love and on top of the world. On the new album, Rhett shows off his pop sensibilities with nuggets of Old 97's-ish gut (most notably on "The El") and buckets of singer-songwriter earnestness. Keeping with the story-telling lyrical style for which we love him most, "The Instigator" offers both brilliant reminders of those "not so perfect" relationship moments (in "Come Around") and the "us against the world" love story (complete with a twist of adultery that would make David Gedge proud) in "Our Love."
Mr. Miller was recently in town to create a little pre-release buzz for the yet-to-be-released album. During his short time in Seattle, he visited some of the local record stores and radio stations and capped off the day with a private mini-show at Chop Suey.
Armed only with his acoustic guitar and immeasurable charisma, Rhett charmed a slighly occupied Chop Suey with a nice sampling of songs from the new album and a couple Old 97's staples ("Roller-skate Skinny" and "Time Bomb"). The show certainly whet the palate. Even sans band and with the sun still up, Rhett rocked the house. Unfortunately, he reserved playing my favorite song on the album, "Four-Eyed Girl," for his next visit to town: 10/28/02 at the Northgate Theatre. Other reasons besides just going to hear him perform my favorite song on the new album? Piebald (I love that "David Lee Roth" song of theirs) and Dashboard Confessional are also on the bill.