Watch: Old 97’s’ Rhett Miller Covers the Great American Songbook

Episode seven of the Mighty SONG Writers video series

Today, education non-profit Mighty Writers continued their weekly series with Old 97’s frontman Rhett Miller. This marks the seventh installment of a new benefit video series called Mighty SONG Writers to raise money for the Philadelphia-based literacy program, put together in partnership with media outlet Literary Hub. Miller follows last week’s Valerie June performance.

Each week, prominent musicians of various genres play songs and also answer questions about literature, making for a unique video format. The Mighty SONG Writers series will continue with a new video every Wednesday, aiming to raise money to support Mighty Writers, whose mission is to teach low-income and minority kids to think clearly and write with clarity. The organization offers free programs for students from elementary through high school at nine centers in diverse neighborhoods around Philadelphia and New Jersey, including several bilingual locations for Spanish-speaking students.

Americana songwriter Rhett Miller is the lead vocalist and primary songwriter of Old 97’s. He records and performs as a solo musician, and has also been published as a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Hot on the heels of Old 97’s’ new album, Twelfth, Miller covers Johnny Cash, Carole King, Otis Redding, and more — dissecting the songs and their background.

In this episode, Miller kicks things off with Johnny Cash’s classic “Big River,” preserving the spirit and style of the original version. He sings and discusses classic American songs and plays a song from Twelfth. After performing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” Miller also gives writing advice to budding young writers: “I think of what I spend my life doing, writing songs, as a craft,” he says. “It’s something you get better at as you go. It’s not magic; it’s work.”

Watch the entire episode below.

Old 97s

Rhett Miller

*Feature image from artist’s official website

 

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