Monday, January 22, 2007

Neko Case - Live in Austin (New West, 2007)

This disc, recorded live for the Austin City Limits television program in 2003 is a stop-gap follow up to her wonderful 2006 disc Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. She has a stripped down acoustic band accompanying her on this album and the music takes on a rootsier, more intimate feel than the reverb drenched sound on Fox. For me, this was a great way to catch up with some of her older material because I was one of many that jumped on the Neko bandwagon in 2006. The tasteful small band backing her is made up of pedal steel guitar, upright bass and background vocals and accentuates the melancholy nature of her songs and her soulful vocals. Neko is in superb form, singing her hauntingly evocative original songs as well as covering Bob Dylan's "Buckets of Rain" very well, giving the music a jaunty, upbeat feel which temporarily breaks the spell of her more languorous songs. Her friend Lisa Marr's song "In California" is a very wistful and image filled song about longing for home. Neko's own "Maybe Sparrow" stands out amongst the originals as it begins to morph in to the emotionally full bodied version that would eventually appear on Fox. This well performed and produced live album is well recommended to fans of roots music.

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