Alive & Wired

Old 97’s. <i>New West.</i>

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Alt-country bands tend to be stuffy purists with too much respect for their sources. Often lumped in that category, Old 97?s provide a raucous antidote: On this crackling, two-disc live set, which puts their fine studio albums to shame, the Texas quartet sputters and rumbles like a garage band with a hillbilly streak, equally attached to Merle Haggard and the Clash. Disheveled front man Rhett Miller plays the charming, eager troublemaker to perfection, his soulful voice ranging from a cocky rasp to a self-pitying sob as he spins tragicomic tales of alcoholic calamity and ill-considered romance. ?Will you sober up and let me down?? he wonders at one point, while in a more hopeful moment he admits, ?I?d be lying if I said I didn?t have designs on you.? It?s a testimony to his charisma that you wish him well anyway.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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