The arrangement here really brings out the country flavour in the song, which is hinted at on the album. But, there’s something about this song, and the album as a whole which stops me from calling it a country record. Perhaps more significantly, there’s something which keeps me from calling it an alt-country record too.
To my ears, it just kind of a ‘voice’ album, if that can be its own genre. I think this is the crux of it; Case’s voice is centre stage, and the style of what she’s singing is entirely secondary.
This is not to say that you can’t taste what’s in the sauce. There is country to be found here, yet also 60s folk- pop (the Mamas and the Papas spring to mind in places…), which explains maybe where Case is coming from as a writer. Yet, for me her voice makes this song, and the album what it is, with melodies which seem to pour out of her in the moment instead of having been written beforehand. And on this one, you kind of hope that the song will go on and on. But, it leaves you with an impression of a feeling, making you wonder why that feeling seems so familiar. That to me is great writing.
The Sadies are owed a debt on this, having co-written it and played on it on the album. Among other artists who appear on Case’s record include Calexico, Howie Gelb of giant sand, and one of my heroes Garth Hudson, the keyboard savant of the Band.
For more Neko Case, check out the Neko Case MySpace Page.