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Old 97s Find Inspiration in Strange Places - Like Lunchboxes

The genre known as alt-country goes in and out of fashion with some regularity.  Right now, it’s in fashion – witness the thousands of people who turned out in Milwaukee earlier this month for a concert by the group Mumford and Sons.

The Texas-based Old 97s have been plying their trade through numerous cycles of the alt-country roller coaster.  They’ve tasted major label success, starting with their 1997 album, “Too Far to Care,” but are just as comfortable reaching their fans with literate pop songs on indie label releases as well.

"You know what?  We’ve figured out how to do that probably many of those bands will see – time will tell – we’ve figured out how stay around for 20 years, and we’ll probably stay around for 30 or 40 years," says band member Murry Hammond.

The group – Rhett Miller, Hammond, Ken Bethea, and Philip Peeples - joined Lake Effect's Mitch Teich on stage before a concert at Turner Hall this summer for an interview. 

(We should come clean here - they played a couple of songs for us, which came through the mixing board at a level that was just a little too distorted to use – we’ll feature one of the songs in the middle of the interview, mixed together with the original studio version.)

Rhett Miller is back in town tomorrow for a solo show at Shank Hall.  Lake Effect alum Trapper Schoepp opens that show.

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