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Miller's Time

Once-tortured rocker Rhett Miller has a new solo project—and (what’s this?!) it’s filled with extremely happy love songs.

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‘This is so braggy, but I woke up early and I’ve been reading Nabokov stories all morning,” says Rhett Miller, the lead singer for country-rock band the Old 97’s, by way of introduction. What’s truly worth bragging about is that Miller’s up before noon. He’s touring furiously these days to promote his new solo album, The Instigator, and to raise money for “the critter” he and his wife, model Erica Iahn, are expecting in November, and for their impending move from L.A. to the Catskills. An almost nauseatingly blissful home life must account for the turn his music has taken of late—from the “tortured and slightly drunken” songs of the 97’s seminal 1997 album Too Far to Care to Miller’s own super-sweet ballads (“You come and you glow and you hum and you hover / I cannot believe that you’re my lover”). His first big solo New York show will be July 31 at the Bowery Ballroom. And “since it’s acoustic,” he says, “I’ll try to make it as exciting as possible. I know sometimes it can get boring with just one guy and a guitar.”


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