13 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

For his third solo album — counting his difficult-to-find 1989 effort Mythologies — Old 97’s frontman Rhett Miller again chose a strong-willed producer in George Drakoulias (Tom Petty, Black Crowes) to sculpt the sound. But it’s not what you might assume. While 2002’s The Instigator featured Jon Brion’s (Aimee Mann) usual seductive and ornate pop-tinged approach, The Believer is hardly the roots-rock album one might expect from a Drakoulias-Miller pairing. It has its alt-country moments, but that’s only one of its points of reference. No, this is an orchestrated album that features an impressive list of guests — guitarist Lyle Workman (Sheryl Crow, Beck), drummer Matt Chamberlain (Tori Amos, David Bowie), Brion, and Gary Louris (Jayhawks) — and tips its hat to T. Rex (“Ain’t That Strange”), Elliot Smith (the title track was inspired by his friend’s death), and the time-honored tradition of country duets (with Rachael Yamagata for the pedal steel and country lope of “Fireflies”). But most importantly, The Believer features some of Miller’s most inspired songs in some time as the Aimee Mann-Miller collaboration “I Believe She’s Lying” and “My Valentine” bear out.

EDITORS’ NOTES

For his third solo album — counting his difficult-to-find 1989 effort Mythologies — Old 97’s frontman Rhett Miller again chose a strong-willed producer in George Drakoulias (Tom Petty, Black Crowes) to sculpt the sound. But it’s not what you might assume. While 2002’s The Instigator featured Jon Brion’s (Aimee Mann) usual seductive and ornate pop-tinged approach, The Believer is hardly the roots-rock album one might expect from a Drakoulias-Miller pairing. It has its alt-country moments, but that’s only one of its points of reference. No, this is an orchestrated album that features an impressive list of guests — guitarist Lyle Workman (Sheryl Crow, Beck), drummer Matt Chamberlain (Tori Amos, David Bowie), Brion, and Gary Louris (Jayhawks) — and tips its hat to T. Rex (“Ain’t That Strange”), Elliot Smith (the title track was inspired by his friend’s death), and the time-honored tradition of country duets (with Rachael Yamagata for the pedal steel and country lope of “Fireflies”). But most importantly, The Believer features some of Miller’s most inspired songs in some time as the Aimee Mann-Miller collaboration “I Believe She’s Lying” and “My Valentine” bear out.

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