Maximum Sunshine Records 
Fire Note Says: Rhett Miller embraces his roots on his honest new Americana solo record The Dreamer.
At some point in time I always imagined that Rhett Miller would get back to the basics on a solo record and that is exactly what has happened with the PledgeMusic funded The Dreamer. The longtime frontman for the Old 97's always has seemed to shy away from the country-tinged music that made his band successful on his earlier solo outings and kept pushing this side of his music to be more radio friendly.
No one can blame Miller for wanting to hit it big with a major label, take over radio and pack stadiums for shows but his records never broke and The Dreamer finds him leaving those ideas on the side of the road and now in full control. This responsibility also lets Miller realize that his strengths in songwriting are best played over lap steel, simplified song structures and lots of focus on his vocals. This is what gives The Dreamer a completely different vibe from his earlier solo records and is one of his more engaging outings.
The Dreamer follows a bit of the road map laid out from his more sonic self-titled release from 2009 but now scales some of the production side back along with his aim for the skies type hooks. This brings the energy down a notch on The Dreamer but honestly comes off more sincere. It is a record that longtime fans have wanted and will totally enjoy because this is the Rhett they have known for a long time plus it has the accompaniment of Rachael Yamagata, Rosanne Cash and Heather Robb which gives tracks a warmer depth. Miller has always been a good storyteller and when he sings on "Out Of Love" that he is only happy singing a sad sad song you know that is true. Most of the tracks on The Dreamer strip everything down so you get a full focus on the lyrics, voice and simplistic instruments which at the end of the day may not be all over the radio but make a solid listen and worth hitting repeat to hear again.
Key Tracks: "I'll Try To", "Out Of Love", "Swimmin' In Sunshine"
Bands With Similar Fire:
Rhett Miller: The Interpreter: Live At Largo [Fire Note Review 12/7/11]
Old 97's: The Grand Theatre Vol. 2 [Fire Note Review 7/13/11]
Old 97's: The Grand Theatre Volume One [Fire Note Review 10/8/10]
Old 97's: Mimeograph [EP] [Fire Note Review 7/16/10]
Old 97's: Wreck Your Life...And Then Some: The Complete Bloodshot Recordings [Fire Note Review 1/25/10]
Rhett Miller: Rhett Miller [Fire Note Review 6/2/09]
Old 97's: Blame It On Gravity [Fire Note Review 5/27/08]
Rhett Miller: The Believer [Fire Note Review 5/3/06]
Rhett Miller Website
Rhett Miller Facebook
Old 97's Website
Old 97's Facebook
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony