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Rhett Miller At High Fidelity, Sunday March 3rd 2013

On Sunday afternoon, I got to attend the Live from High Fidelity podcast, recorded from this LA record store which got its name after the John Cusack movie, and Rhett Miller from the Old 97’s was the special guest this time. The first Sunday of every month, the podcast, hosted by Tom DeSavia (the VP of Creative at Notable Music) and Eric Gorfain (violinist and leader of the band The Section Quartet), focuses on their mutual and loving obsession with LPs, record stores and everything non digital in general.

The ambiance was very friendly, Tom DeSavia being visibly a very good friend of Rhett (he signed the Old 97′s to Elektra), and Eric Gorfain performed a few songs with Rhett at the end of the podcast, remarkably without any prior rehearsal. The three men engaged in a relaxed conversation, playing a few of their favorites songs in a ‘What’s up on my turntable’ segment, and we got to listen to Deer Tick’s ‘Divine Providence’, The Wedding Present’s first song of their first record ‘George Best’ (I had no idea of who they were), Gary Numan’s M. E., Rhett Miller’s duo with Rosanne Cash, ‘As Close As I Came To Being Right’ from his last effort ‘The Dreamer’, and X’s ‘The Hungry Wolf’, from ‘Under the Big Black Sun’, 'the greatest album of all time’ as DeSavia said .

Before singing a few songs, Rhett Miller said he was a big time vinyl listener when he was a kid in Texas, and he admitted a few of his guilty pleasures: Kim Wilde’s ‘Kids in America’, Sammy Hagar’s ‘Heavy Metal’ off the album ‘Standing Hampton’ – and he was doing air guitar during the whole thing – and this ‘Walking on Sunshine’ song that everyone was humming in the mid-80s. He bought his first record, ZZ Top, in a grocery store and he has had a crush on Joan Jett since he was in 4th grade, but who hasn’t?

He told us about Waylon Jennings and his trick to make him pronounce the word 'elixir' correctly when he was recording one his songs: ‘Think about two girls in love, one is named Annie. And what you're going to say is, Annie-licks-her' …. `You're sick. I like you’, replied Jennings!

Then, Rhett Miller and Eric Gorfain gave us a mini in-store concert, and we knew it would be a treat, as it was such an intimate setting! The alt-country man and the violinist sounded really great together, when they did a Sam Philips cover, ‘Broken Circle’, then ‘Fireflies’, a song originally written to sing with Exene – who found the tune great but not for her, ‘I don’t sing like that!’ she said, and he ended up singing it with Rachel Yamagata – the romantic ones ‘Question’, and ‘Come Around’, ‘Out of Love’ from his 2012 album ‘The Dreamer’, and of course, Wreck of the Old 97′, the Johnny Cash’s song which he named his band after. Without any rehearsal? Who needs one, really!

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