The Misfit is an elegant blurring of psychedelia, dream pop, and electronic-leaning indie rock, grounded by the vulnerable songwriting and unaffected vocal presence Rhett Miller has perfected as the frontman for venerable alt-country band Old 97’s.
Rhett Miller's first solo full-length album in four years, The Misfit exists in an enchanted dimension all its own. Co-written and produced by Miller’s Hudson Valley, NY neighbor Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby, Sharon Van Etten, Danger Mouse), it continues the musical partnership that began with 2018’s The Messenger.
LIke the dreamy and reflective debut single “Follow You Home,” featuring vocals from Cassandra Jenkins and Annie Nero, Miller grounds each track with the vulnerable songwriting and unaffected vocal presence he’s brought to the Old 97’s for the last three decades.
The Texas native is perhaps best known as the frontman of the Dallas-based alt-country band the Old 97’s. Formed in 1993, the Old 97’s built a devoted following with their brash blend of country and power pop influences, making a splash with 1995’s Wreck Your Life, which won the group a brief stay on the roster of Elektra Records, a period kicked off with one of their finest hours, 1997’s Too Far To Care.
All four members also pursued side projects, but Miller’s solo career captured the most attention, with the literate songwriter training his eye on such subjects as fatherhood, sex, and love. Making his solo bow with 2002’s The Instigator, most of Miller’s solo albums have been dominated by cool, melodic pop tunes with a drier and more confessional bent than his work with the band, though 2012’s The Dreamer explored a middle ground between his pop and alt-country sensibilities, and the 2011 set The Interpreter: Live At Largo revealed he’s a sure hand with other people’s songs.
Strictly speaking, Miller launched his own career before the Old 97’s formed. He recorded his first solo album, a series of acoustic folk songs entitled Mythologies, in 1989. Future Old 97’s bassist Murry Hammond produced the album, and their partnership later blossomed into a full-fledged band. While releasing a string of well-received albums with the Old 97’s, Miller and Hammond also performed together as the Ranchero Brothers, a two-man acoustic duo that was originally launched as a means of testing new music for the Old 97’s in front of a live audience.