Years Later, Old 97’s Still Embrace One Special Record

It might have been recorded fifteen years ago, but the Dallas-based band will mark an important anniversary with the album that began their alternative-country journey.
Years Later, Old 97’s Still Embrace One Special Record
Photo by Danny Clinch

In January 1997, Dallas’ Old 97’s were holed up in a studio just outside of Woodstock, N.Y., putting the finishing touches on what would be their major label debut, Too Far to Care.

Bandleader Rhett Miller said he wondered who would choose to live in such a cold, snowy place. He also vividly recalled the sleeping arrangements: in an adjacent schoolhouse-turned-loft, Miller was in the top bunk, drummer Philip Peeples in the bottom. Across a small hallway, guitarist Ken Bethea had the top bed above bassist Murry Hammond. Each night, they would listen to a playback of the tracks they had worked on before returning to their bunks. Nobody slept much.

We’d lay there knowing we’d made the record we wanted to make,” Miller said. “And now I can really recognize what a special time that was. There were no limits. The possibilities were infinite. I could go anywhere, do anything, marry anyone. Who knew what was going to happen?”

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