Neko Case

Boarding House Park
40 French Street
Lowell, MA Venue Information
Buy Tickets Saturday June 28, 2014 7:30 PM
$35 in advance / $135 premium / $40 day of concert
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OPENING PERFORMANCE by
LAURA VEIRS




Equally well-regarded in the indie rock and alt-country worlds, Neko Case has built a career defined by both strong will and musical versatility. Her chief attribute is her astonishing, siren-like voice, which she applies to songs that are simultaneously rugged and heartbreaking.

Case has always been brave, but with her latest album she proves herself fearless. With her Anti-Records release, The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You, the singer known as much for her restless musical curiosity as her clarion voice charts a powerfully personal course across the rocky landscape of childhood, love, and loss.

Case's 2009 album, Middle Cyclone, was her most ambitious to date, vaulting her to new heights of critical and commercial success and netting two Grammy nominations. But if Middle Cyclone - laced with frogs, tornados, and killer whales - was Case's exploration of the potency of the natural world, the new album sees Case turning inward. The Worse Things Get... plunges into the wilderness of human experience, revealing Case at her most emotionally raw and yet, paradoxically, in steely control.

Executive produced by Case, The Worse Things Get... was recorded by Tucker Martine in Portland, Oregon, as well as with Chris Schultz and Craig Schumacher in Tucson and with Phil Palazzolo in Brooklyn. Martine, Case, and Darryl Neudorf mixed the album, on which Case is supported by a battalion of musicians including guitarist Paul Rigby, bassist Tom V. Ray, longtime backing vocalist Kelly Hogan, multi-instrumentalist Jon Rauhouse, Kurt Dahle, and John Convertino. Other guests include M. Ward, Carl Newman, Steve Turner, Howe Gelb, and members of My Morning Jacket, Los Lobos, and Visqueen.

This far-flung set of collaborators mirrors Case's own peripatetic path to creative maturity. Born in Virginia in 1970 and raised, for the most part, in working-class Tacoma, Washington, she's lived and worked in Seattle, Vancouver B.C., Chicago, and Tucson, before moving five years ago to a 100-acre farm in rural Vermont. Between 1997 and 2010, she performed at times in the band The New Pornographers.

Now 42, Case is reluctant to talk about her family. "I am related to some stellar, beloved people," she says, "but very few." What she will say is that her parents were young and unprepared and divorced when she was five years old. She bounced around between mother and father until she left home for good at age 15. Marked by alcoholism, drug addiction and neglect, her childhood was traumatic.

From art school in Vancouver to early years making music in Seattle and beyond, Case has been on a lifelong quest for self-definition. During the making of this The Worse Things Get... she granted herself a long-held desire, committing fully to the life she's created: tattoos on her forearms reading "Scorned as Timber" and "Beloved of the Sky", from an Emily Carr painting. "I wanted them for 20 years!" she crows.

With her new roots finally taking hold in Vermont-the place she says she plans to die-she says she's now grounded enough to grab the past by the throat and let it take her for a ride. "I wanted to be in control, as much as I could be anyway," she says. "My 40s are a lonelier place than I imagined, but I can look myself in the face and know that it was my choice. So anything that happens to me from here on out is mine. I'm at square one again."

The Worse Things Get...,her sixth studio album, emerges from a three-year period the artist describes as full of "grief and mourning," in the wake of the deaths of not just both her parents, but several intimates as well.

"I fought hard against the feeling of grief all my life," she says, "but about three years ago I finally had to give in and mourn the dead. I had to look inward more than I wanted. It was sobering, and I often felt like I was blurring the lines of mental illness. When I stopped fighting it," she adds, "it took me where I needed to go."

The Worse Things Get... traces an emotional arc that reveals Case in all her thorny contradictions, each track in the 40-minute song cycle its own short story. "I like to have a linear flow," she says of the album's structure. "I wanted to have faith in the songs as a group rather than stacking the deck with all the upbeat songs at the top."

From the prickly power-pop aggression of "Man" to the dreamlike "Where Did I Leave That Fire?" and the hopeful uplift of the album's closing track, "Ragtime," she displays uncommon dynamic range and lyrical clarity, taking a leap of faith that listeners will hold on for the full journey.


Find more info at: nekocase.com



Opening Performance by Laura Veirs

Seattle singer/songwriter Laura Veirs sings personal songs of romantic intoxication, everyday vignettes, and occasional social commentary that are often heavy on introspection and intense character scrutiny. Her vocals and melodies rapidly shift and veer, up and down her wide vocal range. Her music has been endorsed by many established artists, such as Neko Case and Sufjan Stevens. Her last album, Warp and Weft, was released in 2013, and she is currently on tour with Neko Case.


Find more info at: lauraveirs.com/wp





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Lowell Summer Music Series
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