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Neko Case & Her Boyfriends

The Virginian – 1997 (Mint (Canadian import))

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Neko Case & Her Boyfriends

Neko Case is the latest in a series of punk rock musicians to give country music a stab. Unlike others (Ween, Supersuckers, the Waco Bros.) who seem to be poking fun at the genre, Case clearly reveres country music.

Originally from Virginia, Neko currently resides in Vancouver where she plays drums in a punk band called MAOW. Her debut solo album, however, is pure country.

Covers such as Ernest Tubb's "Thanks a Lot" and the Everly Brothers' "Bowling Green" work well, but it is on the originals where Case shines brightest. On "Caroline" and "Honky-Tonk Hiccups" Case belts out rockabilly in the tradition of Wanda Jackson. Equally impressive are her ballads, including "Lonely Old Lies" and the haunting title track. Patsy would be proud.

In her liner notes Case promises to do a George Jones tune on her next record. The quality of this debut album makes that prospect something to look forward to. (The album will be released in the U.S. in February on Bloodshot)