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Neko Case--The Virginian
on March 13, 2004
There is almost a subgenre of "The next Patsy Clines" and Neko Case falls into that category. She sounds like Mandy Barnett backed by Faithless Street era Whiskeytown. This album is rather like stepping back into a time warp, when music had twang and women had attitude.
The album starts with the mellow two step of "Timber," about falling in love. Next Carl Newman turns up to help with a cover fo the classic "Bowling Green." "Jettison" is a darkly, beautiful stately waltz. Case jumps back into full swing mode for the hillarious break up tune "High On Cruel," complete with back-up vocals from sister Carolyn Mark. "Karoline" is another uptempo two-stepper about the queen of the barroom and the women who want to be her. "Lonely Old Lies" feels like a classic cover, but it was written by Case herself for this album. "Honkey Tonk Hiccups" is another song you will swear she pulled off an album from the 1960's. However, the most stunning track is the title track. "The Virginian" is a haunting melody that sounds more like a Childe ballad than something from the 20th century. This sets up perfectly for her amazing cover of "Duchess." Then she turns back onto a lighter track with her fun loving cover of Ernest Tubbs "Thanks a Lot." She closes the album with a pair of georgous covers, from opposite sides of the love scheme, "Somebody Lead Me Away" and "Misfire."
This is an album of pure, unadulterated, pretty good girl barroom funm, smart mouthed and big shouldered--in that way she is more akin to Loretta Lynn as opposed to Patsy Cline. But definately a heavy dose of old school country with old school attitude.