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If you don't think Rhett Miller was the perfect performer to plunk at the very tippy top of our incredible, Launch Pad line-up down in Austin this past spring, then you don't know much about this iconic singer-songwriter. So pay attention, particularly to some of the Lone Star musings galloping through "A State of Texas"; the second song in this supremely sweaty solo performance. In it Miller declares, "When the sun goes down on Austin town that's when I know I'm home"...and doesn't he look it, working through a barrage of classic Old 97's cuts, older solo work, and even a few from his new album The Dreamer ? It doesn't matter that home for this performance is some scuzzy, 6th Street shot bar. Miller had his family (Yeah, I met his parentsthat was awesome), his faithful devotees, and a slew of songs on hand. This is why he can sing lines like "I'm living in a state of Texas and Texas Lives in me". This is why there was no better way to top off our day of music in Austin.

Transcript

Where the bluebonnets thrive on I-35 And the Guadalupe River flows
Miller, and you're watching Baebel Music.
And the honkey-tonks never close
When the mornin' sun rise and I open my eyes
Yeah, that's all I wanna see
This is what I do, this is what I do Jennifer 1 was a racehorse-rider Heidi
was a house on fire Bernadette kept a distance we got tangled
up in telephone wire I'm gonna sing this song forever about a
girl that I once knew
And how she is always leaving this is what I do
This is what I do, this is what I do for a living
This is what I do, this is what I do
In another life I was a holy roller in another lifetime I flew
I have always kept a distance this is what I do
This is what I do.
This is what I do for a living this is what I do
This is what I do, this is what I do, yeah this is what I do
Every one of us has a secret rhythm beating like a drum
All of us has an albatross and this is my one
This is what I do, this is what I do for a living
This is what I do, this is what I do
I could hide it in the attic I could bury it in static
I could only put it out in Japan I could tape my mouth closed
take another dose I am dancing as fast as I can
This is what I do, this is what I do for a living this is what I do
This is what I do yeah this is what I do
this is what I do. Yeah!
- Thank you! When the day breaks on Cedar Creek Lake Or my ride rolls into Rome
When the sun goes down on Austin town That's when I'll know I'm home
What a time we'll have on Greenville Ave With the big shots in Big D
I'm livin' in a state of Texas And Texas lives in me
For the girls I've known in San Antone And out El Paso way
My love grows like a yellow rose And will not fade away
When you hold tight on a summer night I'm gone, yeah, oh honey I am free
I'm livin' in a state of Texas And Texas lives in me
I'm livin' in a state of Texas And Texas lives in me
Like a mystery train or a magic trick Or a map of the world on a guitar pick
I can't explain, I got to let it be The eyes of Texas are smiling on me
Yeah, the eyes of Texas are smiling on me
Oh where the bluebonnets thrive on I-35 And the Guadalupe River flows
Where the stars at night are a hell of a sight
And the honkey-tonks never close
When the mornin' sun rise and I open my eyes
Yeah, it's all I wanna see I'm livin' in a state of Texas
And Texas lives in me I'm livin' in a state of Texas
And Texas lives in me
I'm livin' in a state of Texas And Texas lives in me
Kissing in a classroom on a campus on the coast after hours of analysis
I loved you first, I loved you the most Now it feels like paralysis
And I've got no idea where we're going with this
Yeah, I don't know where were gonna land And it might go better if we do it by
the letter So, I need to know where I stand
Killing in a comedy club in Hollywood after years of psychotherapy
You were gone forever now you say you're back for good
I swear to God you're gonna bury me And the people are laughing
I'm dead on the inside I'll do anything you demand
Well you tell me that you love me, yet you won't even hug me
So, I need to know where I stand Yes, I need to know where I stand
Would you please? Tell me if you can, tell me if you can
Cause I need Yes, I need to know where I stand
Quiet in the kitchen of a Cracker Jack box in the Hamlet of a Wall-kill
I miss you so much that it hurts me to talk
You're standing right in front of me still
And I'm reaching for you but you're falling away
This has gotten so out of hand Well, the world might end in a minute my
friend So, I need to know where I stand
Yes, I need to know where I stand
Would you please? Tell me if you can, tell me if you can
Cause I need Yes, I need to know where I stand
Yes, I need to know where I stand Yes, I need to know where I stand
This is the story of Victoria Lee She started off on Percodan and ended up
with me She lived in Berkeley 'til the earthquake
shook her loose She lives in Texas now where nothin' ever moves
Victoria, you talk so low that no one else can hear
Unless you point your megaphone directly at their ear
This is the story of Victoria Lee
Started on Rohypinol and ended up with me
You'd like to think they're your friends But they're not your friends
And in the end the friends are the one you'll never know
Don't you know?
You'd like to think you're groovy, it's your movie
You see through me, but it's true And in the end you'll know
Victoria, don't go, Victoria, Victoria, don't go
This is the story of Victoria's heart You might think it's stupid but I still
think it's art She lost her lover to an accident at sea
She pushed him overboard and ended up with me
Victoria, you talk so low that no one else can hear
Unless you point your big ol' mouth directly at their ear
This is the story of Victoria's heart It's a really big one, and I do not know
how to start
You'd like to think they're your friends But they're not your friends
And in the end the friends are the one you'll never know
Don't you know?
You'd like to think you're groovy, it's your movie
You see through me but it's true And in the end you'll know
Victoria, don't go, Victoria, Victoria,don't go
Victoria, Victoria, don't go Victoria, Victoria, don't go
- Thank you! There is a real possibility That there's really something wrong with
me In all likelihood I'm up to no good
There is a strong suggestion Baby without a question
In all likelihood I'm up to no good
I'm only home away from home I'm only all there when I am gone
I only miss you when I'm with you I'm only happy when I'm singing a sad,
sad song
Well you can keep my fortune Throw it into the ocean
No matter what you say, I'm drifting away Hold on to my memory
You can't hold on to me No matter what you say, I am drifting away
I'm only home away from home I'm only all there when I am gone
I only miss you when I'm with you I'm only happy when I'm singing a sad,
sad song
There is a real possibility That there's really something wrong with
me In all likelihood I'm up to no good
There is a strong suggestion Without a question
In all likelihood I'm up to no good
I'm only home away from home I'm only all there when I am gone
I only miss you when I'm with you I'm only happy when I'm singing a sad,
sad, sad, sad
Out of love, out of love, Out of love, you know I did it out of love
Out of love, out of love Out of love, you know I did it
I'm only home away from home I'm only all there when I am gone
I only miss you when I'm with you I'm only happy when I'm singing a sad,
sad song
Out of love, out of love Out of love, you know I did it out of love
Out of love, out of love Out of love, you know I did it out of
love
- Thank you! Richard Wagner's letters to his lover
Mathilde were a mess He should have quit before he had written
the address They made love on the mezzanine her
husband was his friend Vienna in a fugue-state working on a thing
That when he finished it took almost seven hours to sing
He still found time to write to her his heart-exploding words
Our love surpassed our love so fast Our love's all wrong our love goes on
and on Our love became our love by name when I
wrote it to you in a song Our love goes on and on
Our love our love
Kafka in his letters to his lover Milena was alive
But he was waiting for a love that never would arrive
Their rendezvous was singular her husband was his friend
She is a living fire she's a reason to live
Killing me burning only for him I will spend my whole life loving her my
heart exploding words
Our love surpassed our love so fast Our love's all wrong our love goes on and
on Our love became our love by name when I
wrote it to you in a song Our love goes on and on
Our love our love our love our love Our love our love our love our love yeah
- Thank you! I got this as a request from a very nice fan.
Salome, uncross your heart.
I know what goes on inside, it's over
before it starts.
I'll stay all night, I'll wait right
here.
Well the full moon might work magic girl, but I
won't disappear.
And I'm tired of making friends, and I'm tired of making time,
And I'm sick to death of love, and I'm sick to death of trying.
And it's easier for you, yeah it's easier for you.
And it's easier for you, yeah it's easier for you.
Salome, untie my hands.
Well I'll find another lady, and you will
wreck another man.
It's over now, yeah and so are we.
My blood's turned to dirt girl, you broke every part of me.
And I'm tired of making friends, and I'm tired of making time,
And I'm sick to death of love, and I'm sick to death of trying.
And it's easier for you, yeah it's easier for you.
And it's easier for you, yeah it's easier for you.
And it's easier for you, yeah it's easier for you.
- Thank you.
All right, I'm going to try one more new one out on y'all.
I've never played this in front of people before, so we'll see.
This ain't love, but it ain't bad When you leave, I'll be sad, sad, sad
Long, long, long, you are and I do Though it's wrong, wrong, wrong
I'm gonna long for you Lay, lay, lay your head right here
Won't you stay, stay, stay A little while longer, my dear
This ain't love, but it ain't bad When you leave, I'll be sad, sad, sad
There's something else, something I ain't had
When you leave, I'll be sad, sad, sad Bye, bye, bye, it's so hard to say
I'm gonna cry, cry, cry And let that old song play
No-no-no-body knows my pain I've got your long long legs
Running around my brain Try, try, try, to tell me true
Honey, why why why Must I long for you?
This ain't love But it ain't bad
When you leave, I'll be sad, sad, sad There's something else,
something I ain't had And when you leave, I'll be sad, sad, sad
When you leave, I'll be sad, sad, sad
Long, Long, long, you are and I do Though it's wrong, wrong, wrong
I'm gonna long for you I'm gonna long for you
- Thank you! Nice.
Thank you very much y'all.
The bottom line's been snorted The bottom card's been dealt
No one knows like you know right now How truly bad it felt
All your life you wasted On dreamin' about the day
Worker bees kill off their queen And carry all her eggs away
Oh, but if you die fearin' God And painfully employed
No, you will not go to Heaven You'll go to Champaign, Illinois
Up north in Chicago Where booze makes no one blush
Memories come back to you In a double Bourbon rush
Memories aren't all bad And neither, my friend, are you
There is an argument there must be some Heaven meant
For hearts that are half true
Oh, and if you spend your whole life Rollin' horses into Troy
You will not go to heaven You'll go to Champaign, Illinois
No, you will not go to heaven You'll go to Champaign, Illinois
Roll on blacktop highway Circles towards the sun
Springfield's in the distance And that's the last big one
After that comes judgment Oh, and judgment will be swift
You will be eliminated But here's a parting gift
Oh, if you die fearin' God And painfully employed
No, you will not go to heaven You'll go to Champaign, Illinois
No, you will not go to heaven You'll go to Champaign, Illinois
No, you will not go to heaven You'll go to Champaign, Illinois
- Well thanks very much for everything tonight, y'all.
I've just got a couple more songs, I think.
All right, I'll do that song.
So I've got three more songs.
Standing on the corner of 6th and how to forget
Trying to do right by you all night Annette
You can go ahead and get married and this will be our secret thing
I won't tell a soul except the people in the nightclub where I sing
I don't mean to make you excited Except secretly I do
I'd be lying if I said, I didn't have designs on you
I'd be lying if I said, I didn't have designs on you
Standing on the corner of 6th and where do I go
The parade's shut down now the rain is running the show
Where did all these people come from and how soon can they leave
Normally I'd be into it but I need to get some sleep
Though I do wish you'd come over I'm warning you if you do
I'd be lying if I said, I didn't have designs on you
I'd be lying if I said, I didn't have designs on you
Standing on the corner of 6th and where do I get
Trying to do right by you all night Annette
This would only be an experiment in things that could have been
You can go ahead and get married and it'll probably never happen again
I don't want to get you all worked up Except secretly I do
I'd be lying if I said, I didn't have designs on you
I'd be lying if I said, I didn't have designs on you
I'd be lying if I said, I didn't have designs on you
I'd be lying if I said, I didn't have designs on you
- Thank you very much y'all.
I'm dressed all in blue and I'm remembering you
And the dress you wore when you broke my heart
I'm depressed upstairs and I'm remembering where
And when and how and why'd you have to go so far
Am I gonna be lonely for the rest of my life
Am I gonna be lonely for the rest of my life
I'm gonna be lonely for the rest of my life
Unless you come around so come around
I'm dressed all in white and I remember the night
You came on to me and opened up my heart I was hollow then till you filled me in
now I'm empty again I should have never let it start
Am I gonna be lonely for the rest of my life
Am I gonna be lonely for the rest of my life
I'm gonna be lonely for the rest of my life
Unless you come around so come around
No one else can fix me although sometimes my heart tricks me
Into thinking someone else will do But you're the only one
You are the only one
Am I gonna be lonely for the rest of my life
Am I gonna be lonely for the rest of my life
I'm gonna be lonely for the rest of my life
Unless you come around so come around
So come around so come around I'm dressed all in blue and I'm
remembering you And the dress you wore when you broke my
heart
- Well thanks very much for everything you guys.
It's been a blast.
Have a great South by Southwest.
I can't wait to see y'all soon.
I got a timebomb in my mind Mom I hear it ticking but I don't know why
I call the police but they don't like me I hear 'em whispering when I walk by
I got a landmine in my bloodline I'm not immune to getting blown apart
She's like a claymore, that's what she's there for
She's waiting 'round here to get blown apart
Having her on my brain's like getting hit by a train
She's gonna kill me, oh Celeste, oh Celeste
Oh Celeste, oh Celeste Oh yeah!
I got a timebomb in my mind Mom It's gonna go off but I don't know when
I need a doctor to extract her I got a feeling she'd get right back in
again
I got a timebomb in my mind Mom I got it badly for a stick-legged girl
She's gonna kill me, and I don't mean softly
I got it badly for a stick-legged girl
Having her on my brain's like getting hit by a train
She's gonna kill me, oh Celeste, oh Celeste, oh Celeste, oh Celeste
Oh, oh Celeste Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Artist Bio

Stewart Ransom Miller II , better-known as Rhett Miller (born September 6, 1970) is the lead singer of the alternative country band Old 97's and a successful solo musician. He graduated from St. Mark's School of Texas, a private boys' school in Dallas in 1989 and briefly attended Sarah Lawrence College on a creative writing scholarship before dropping out to pursue a music career. His first musical endeavor was in 1990 with Murry Hammond and drummer Benjamin Warrenfells, who formed the Sleepy Heroes, an alterna-pop band. The Sleepy Heroes released one album, Under a Radio Sun, before their breakup.

Rhett Miller has recorded four solo albums. The 1989 album Mythologies was produced and recorded by future Old 97's member Murry Hammond. The 2002 album The Instigator, produced and recorded with Jon Brion, received critical acclaim and substantial airplay on alternative-oriented radio stations. In 2006, Miller released The Believer, his first effort for the Verve Forecast label. It includes a cover of Brion's "I Believe She's Lying", and "Fireflies", a duet with Rachael Yamagata. His most recent album, Rhett Miller, was released in June 2009 (Shout! Factory), and includes Jon Brion on guitar and bass, The Apples In Stereos John Dufilho on drums and Billy Harvey on guitar. Upon the album's release, Rolling Stone called it Miller's "strongest solo set ever." "I Need To Know Where I Stand" is the first single from the album, and was available for listen on Miller's MySpace page several weeks before the release of the album.

In 2004, Miller toured with Neil Finn and recorded a version of Simon and Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound" for one of MasterCard's "Priceless" advertisements. Songs from Miller's second solo album, The Instigator, were featured on an episode of Joan of Arcadia during its short run on CBS. Songs by both Miller and Old 97's have been used in the soundtrack of the American comedy series Scrubs. Miller also covered The Beatles song "Girl" for 2005's This Bird Has Flown - A 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Beatles' Rubber Soul. In 2008, Miller co-produced the first EP, No One Will Know, of New York band The Spring Standards.
Miller married model Erica Iahn a week after he completed production of The Instigator. Iahn found out she was pregnant with their first child, Max, while Miller was wrapping up his tour with Tori Amos to promote the album. Their daughter, Soleil, was born in the spring of 2006. Miller's song "Happy Birthday Don't Die" is his imagining of what the world will be like when Soleil celebrates her 100th birthday.

Miller appears as a member of the musical ensemble in the 30 Rock episode Kidney Now!

American Songwriter named Miller their Writer of The Week for the week of June 25, 2012 and included him on their The Muse July Sampler.

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Rhett Miller

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