SAVANNAH MORNING NEWS (daily)
What’s on your to-do list?
8 p.m. Nov. 10, Muse Arts Warehouse, 703 Louisville Road.Americana music legend Peter Case will perform songs from throughout his career as one of the most acclaimed songwriters of his generation, from traditional folk and blues to punk-infused roots-rock, on guitar and grand piano. His work has been praised by artists such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Doe of the band X, Joe Ely and John Prine, all of whom are fans or have recorded their own versions of his songs. The event is a CD release party for his latest album, “The Case Files,” which will be available for sale at the concert. Savannah’s own singer/songwriter Greg Williams will open the show. Tickets are $20 at the door. Go to facebook.com/knockedoutloaded for more info.
CONNECT SAVANNAH (weekly)
If Peter Case hadn’t done anything but contribute “A Million Miles Away” to the lexicon of perfect power–pop songs, it’d still be a pleasure to announce that he’s coming to do a show in Savannah Nov. 10.But Case, who wrote and sang “A Million Miles Away” as part of the sadly short–lived band the Plimsouls in 1983, had a prolific – and inspirational – career before that, as a member of the punk group the Nerves. And his solo journey, through such albums as the T–Bone Burnett–produced Peter Case and The Man With the Blue Post–Modern Fragmented Neo–Traditionalist Guitar, has revealed an intrinsically smart singer/songwriter. Since then he has explored various forms of folk/rock and Americana, pop and rock, and even reunited the Plimsouls more than once.Today, Case is one of indie music’s revered godfathers. You can catch up with him at 8 p.m. at Muse Arts Warehouse, courtesy of your friends at Knocked Out Loaded Concerts. He’s on the road behind his recent CD rarities collection, The Case Files.Advance tickets are $20 at Knocked Out Loaded’s Facebook page.
ISTHMTUS (Madison, WI weekly)
Kiki’s House of Righteous Music, 9 pm
After stints in seminal 1970s power-pop bands like the Nerves and the Plimsouls, Case settled into a long, productive career playing eloquent, intimate folk-rock. If you ever saw the improbably good 1980s teen comedy Valley Girl, you’ve glimpsed Case. The Plimsouls were the movie’s house band. With Dietrich Gosser.
THE SPEC (Hamilton, ONT weekly)
Graham Rockingham’s best bets
Former member of The Nerves, The Plimsouls and the Breakaways brings his rootsy solo act back to Hamilton. Last time, Case played one of the best versions of Milk Cow Blues this town has ever seen. Who knows what he’ll do this time? With Hamilton’s own mad genius, Chris Houston, Saturday, Oct. 15, 9 p.m., at This Ain’t Hollywood, 345 James St. http://www.thespec.com/whatson/article/608058–graham-rockingham-s-best-bets
THE ONION’S A.V. CLUB (Rochester, NY daily)
A long, winding musical road brought singer-songwriter Peter Case to 2010’s Wig!, a route that travels through bar bands, new wave innovators, flirtations with folk-rock, a brief fling with a major, and a life-saving heart surgery. Not that the former leader of The Plimsouls hoped to capture all of that in Wig!’s 12 tracks. Instead, he turned out a dozen blood-simple blues-rock numbers recorded in quick-and-dirty fashion recorded with X drummer DJ Bonebrake and fuzzbox-stomper Ron Franklin. He’s now touring behind a recently released collection of rarities, The Case Files.
ROCHESTER CITY NEWSPAPER (Rochester, NY daily)
SINGER/SONGWRITER: Peter Case (10/13)
By Frank De Blase on October 12, 2011
The Plimsouls’ 1983 single “A Million Miles Away” is one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for decades (my head, anyway, along with “Jamie’s Cryin”). Well, it was penned by Buffalo-born Peter Case, who now crisscrosses the map as a solo act. Standing on stage a la carte, the impact of Case’s lyricism is truly felt. Sure, everybody perched on a stool with a dreadnought has some insight to share and wisdom to spill. Case is just simply better than most. Peter Case plays Thursday, October 13 at 8 p.m. at Lovin’ Cup, 300 Park Point Drive. $18-$20. lovincup.com
FREETIME MAGAZINE (Rochester, NY weekly)
Lovin’ Cup | October 13
petercase.jpgWith a career that spans well over 30 years as a street-singer, soul-punk bandleader, power-pop artist, acoustic “tribal-folk” legend and songwriter; Peter Case has seen it all. The Buffalo native’s work has been recorded by the likes of the Goo Goo Dolls and many others; and recently the three-time Grammy nominee found such artists as T-Bone Bennett and Loudon Wainwright III stepping up to raise funds to pay for his open heart surgery, attesting to his impact on the industry. His many albums include A Case for Case and Wig!.
BUFFALO NEWS (Buffalo, NY daily)
Hamburg-born singer-songwriter Peter Case is coming home with an appearance tonight in the Sportsmen’s Tavern, 325 Amherst St.It is the first of two performances to benefit Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. Case will reunite with old buddies Jim Whitford and Mark Winsick. Tonight’s show starts at 7 with a Peter Case tribute set by Dee Adams, Mark Norris and Dave Ruch. Tickets are $15. On Friday, Case will speak at the Buffalo International Film Festival world premiere of the film documentary “Troubadour Blues,” in which he appears.
BUFFABLOG (Buffalo, NY music blog)
Peter Case’s Homecoming tonight at Sportsman
Hamburg native and 3-time Grammy nominee Peter Case is coming home this weekend for two triumphant performances, tonight at the Sportsmens Tavern and a Hamburg house concert on Sunday He will be backed by his childhood pals and garage bandmates Jim Whitford – a fellow Buffalo Music Hall of Famer – and just announced 2010 inductee Mark Winsick. Case filled out the Buffalo band by calling on drummer Rob Lynch, having jammed with him at a previous reunion gig at the Sportsmens. Pick up a copy of this weeks artvoice and read more about his career and the upcoming shows.
ARTVOICE (Buffalo, NY weekly)
Case in Point
by Kevin J. Hosey
Peter Case, the hamburg boy made good, returns to Western New York for two shows in three days
About a year and a half ago, Peter Case was in a hospital, canceling concerts and music classes he taught, while doctors saved his life through open-heart surgery. Now the Hamburg native is recovered, back on tour, and playing two shows in three days in Buffalo and Western New York as he supports his new Yep Roc Records CD, Wig!
Case will play a show as part of the Private Concert Series at 7pm on Friday, August 13, at the Sportsmen’s Tavern (326 Amherst Street near Grant Street), with a band made up of himself on guitar, vocals and harmonica; Mark Winsick on guitar; Jim Whitford on bass and vocals; and Rob Lynch on drums and vocals. (Case and Whitford are Buffalo Music Hall of Fame members, and Winsick will be inducted this year.) Tickets for the show cost $15 presale only, and have been moving very fast, with only a few left. Call 874-7734 or stop in at the Sportsmen’s for tickets to the show. The Dawg House Band, which previously was to headline at the club that night, will open the show.
Peter Case performs at the Sprtsmen’s Tavern, with guitarist Mark Winsick in the background. Photo by Val Dunne (www.buffaloroots.com / www.creativebflo.blogspot.com).
Case will also perform a house concert at the home of Marty Boratin and Susan Tanner (7341 Nelson Drive, Hamburg) on Sunday, August 15; doors open at 5pm and the show starts at 5:45pm, with Winsick and Grace Stumberg the opening acts. A potluck cookout will start at 4pm, and the suggested donation is $10-20. For directions or more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 812-4671.
As readers might imagine, the first question one asks Case is about his health.
“I’m doing good, quite well, actually,” Case says. “I’ve been touring a while. I had a reckoning of sorts, with my dad and both of my grandfathers dying of heart-related disease, both of my grandfathers in their 60s. It’s a bit of a genetic thing.”
Case is 56. He notes that while he had health insurance when he was signed to a major label (formerly Geffen), he did not when the heart problems occurred.
“The doctors saved my life, then they sent me a bill,” he says. “There was no question of how I was going to pay for this. They did a great job and I am very appreciative.” His likewise appreciates the musicians and other industry people and fans who helped him when he needed it. “There were three nights of benefits and some fans started a fund drive, and Catholic Charities helped.”
If, after listening to it, you think that Case’s new CD, Wig! sounds like it was fun and relaxed to record, well, it was.
“The record was really fun to make; I really recommend it and feel it is a really good recording. Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John [Case’s previous, Grammy Award-nominated CD] may have sounded a bit depressing, but this one I was really happy to be alive. It really gave me a burst of energy,” Case says. “What I set out to do is play the kinds of music I like, from acoustic blues to electric blues and a little folk rock. It’s a good album; it starts off pretty driving and it pulls together everything I’ve done. The majority of the recording was done in one day, with one or two other shorter sessions. One idea was to strip everything down. It’s like groove music; it’s not supposed to be clever or intricate. It’s all about feeling.”
Wig! does indeed incorporate all of his stated musical influences and directions, mixing a nice amount of soul, 1960s rock and roll, and some power pop into an enjoyable, danceable recording while addressing serious topics such as healthcare, religion, hypocrisy, and mortality.
Case has always felt driven to write and record the music he feels, and to follow his muse, which may have led to the break up of the Plimsouls, the band with which he wrote and recorded the power pop classic “A Million Miles Away” in the 1980s. “I felt strongly about going in a certain direction, and that’s what really ended up breaking up the Plimsouls,” he says. “They didn’t really want to go in the acoustic direction, or maybe they couldn’t. I’ve always taken my direction from the songs and their energy. I really go by intuition and feel.”
Case sounds excited to be coming home to play and notes the number of talented musicians—Case, Whitford, Winsick, Gurf Morlix, Bob Kozak, Terry Sullivan, Scott Michaels—who came from the Hamburg/Blasdell area. “We all just got into the music,” Case says. “We hung around some people who taught music and we picked up some guitars. Remember, on one side of Hamburg was the city, and on the other was the country, so we had all of those influences. The first time I went to a dance, the Unclaimed was playing, with Gurf and Mark, at the Hamburg Community Center. I was 12 years old. I studied guitar with Pete Haskell, one of the original Stan and the Ravens. Garth Hudson [of the Band0 once told Pete that he learned to play rock and roll from Stan Szelest.
“There are some great musicians from Buffalo, including drummers like Gary Mallaber and Rob Lynch. I have friends and roots here, and I haven’t been back in town since my mother died, so I am glad to come back. I enjoy and appreciate the area.”
Though Case was laid up in 2009, he observes with a laugh that his music was very busy. “The year I was sick and didn’t work, I had four records that came out, including One Way Ticket (Dig), a Nerves compilation [the Nerves were a great mid-1970s power pop band Case was in with Paul Collins and Jack Lee, best known for “Hanging on the Telephone”], and a CD by the Breakaways [the Nerves without Lee and with other musicians]. I truly enjoyed those.
“There was also a live Plimsouls CD [One Night in America on Kool Kat Music]. I had been hauling around these live tapes from a show at the Whiskey a Go-Go for years and finally did something with them.”
On top of all this, Case has three songs on the new Robert Randolph CD and was the subject of a three-CD tribute, A Case for Case: A Tribute to the Songs of Peter Case, in 2006. “It’s always great when people dig your songs and cut your songs,” he says. “I was really proud of it and enjoyed hearing how people recorded my songs.”
Case says the full-band show at the Sportsmen’s and his solo turn at the Boratin/Tanner house present very different experiences. “The band tour has been great,” he says. “I’ve been working with an extended musical family and it’s been a pretty easy relationship. It costs too much to travel with a band. We’ll play some different arrangements, with similar and different songs, and we’ll stretch out in different directions. But the Sportsmen’s show will be a bit more song-focused than the last time I played with these guys, which was more of a jam. The house concert will basically be me and my guitar.”
Jam sessions featuring Case leading a band can be enjoyable; his last Sportsmen’s full-band show was not so loose as one might think, and neither are his rehearsals. Jim Whitford is our neighbor, and we got to hear an impromptu two- or three-hour rehearsal/jam session one night a few years ago. There’s little better than hearing Plimsouls, solo Peter Case, and some classic blues, soul, and rock-and-roll songs coming through your window after dinner.
ROCHESTER MESSENGER POST (Rochester, NY daily)
On the Case: Four decades of stories from Peter Case, who plays Henrietta Oct. 13
By David Wheeler
Peter Case gets a bit bristly when you start talking about the variety of musical genres he’s employed through his long musical career, from driving rock and roll to acoustic folk rock to the blues.
“To me it’s always the same thing,” Case — who plays The Lovin’ Cup in Henrietta this Thursday, Oct. 13 — said by phone last week. “It is story-oriented: I tell stories and I sing songs. I tell stories about life and things I want to say.”
And he’s told plenty of those stories, in a musical career that’s spanned some four decades, including time spent in the Buffalo rock scene as a youth, a street musician in San Francisco, a member of The Nerves, a founder of the Plimsouls (who had a bit of a hit with “A Million Miles Away,” which was included with other Plimsouls tracks in the early Nicolas Cage movie “Valley Girl”) and a solo career that started in 1986 and has encompassed more than a dozen albums.
They’re stories of observation and impression; stories of identification with those for whom life has proven a toil and a trouble; stories of a society that’s gone off the rails with avarice, greed and lust for power. And they’re stories that have brought him the reputation of a songwriter’s songwriter: Such top-flight writers as John Prine, Hayes Carll, Joe Ely, Dave Snider, James McMurtry and Victoria Williams (Case’s ex-wife) paid him tribute a few years ago with the three-disc covers project “A Case For Case.”
Some examples of Case’s lyrical craftsmanship:
Who moved the furniture? Who hit the light?
Everything’s changing but nothing seems right.
I thought I was smart, but that was last night.
The world turns every 24 hours …
(“Every 24 Hours,” from “Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John)
He’s in his double breasted jacket and some cherry wing-tip shoes
Big ol’ hat with a feather high and a pocket flask of booze
But he can’t afford the treatments and there ain’t no other cure
Sad to say, without no pay, he won’t get well no more …
(“House Rent Party,” from “Wig”)
Trips to Western New York are a bit of a homecoming to Case, whose Lovin’ Cup show is sandwiched between Buffalo sets on Oct. 12 and 14. He grew up in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst and remembers the Buffalo area of the 1960s and ’70s as a healthy blues and rock scene, and mentions Stan Szelest — founder of Stan and the Ravens who played with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks and, later, the Hawks’ successor The Band — as particularly influential.
The blues — which underpins most American (and British, for that matter) rock and roll — infuses Case’s work as well. Not just musically, although Case’s 2010 album “Wig,” his first studio disc since a 2009 heart surgery, was a collection of intense, driving, growling blues-rockers. But in Case’s entire catalog can be heard the emotional directness, the intensity and the identification with the downtrodden that’s a hallmark of the blues.
“You know, it’s about people with hope, and people without hope,” Case said. “A lot of my songs are about people who are in difficult situations, and have to get through it.
“You got to get through.”
FORT WAYNE JOURNAL-GAZETTE (Fort Wayne, IN daily)
Singer a hit with musical peers
Steve Penhollow | The Journal Gazette
On the Internet, you can find such lists as “The Best Movies You Never Heard Of” and “The Best Comedians You Never Heard Of.”
Peter Case may be the best singer-songwriter you have never heard of. And he will perform Sunday at Columbia Street West at 135 W. Columbia St.
Case’s biggest commercial splash came in 1983 when his band the Plimsouls scored a hit with “A Million Miles Away,” one of the finest odes to lost love produced in that decade (in this writer’s opinion).
But Case’s influence on popular music goes far beyond that hit single.
In 2005, the non-profit Hungry for Music solicited contributions for a Peter Case tribute album to benefit music programs in schools.
The resulting philanthropic project, “The Case for Case,” was expanded to three discs to accommodate all the artists who wanted to donate tracks.
In January 2009, Case underwent emergency heart surgery, which very likely saved his life but left the uninsured musician with enormous medical bills.
Musicians Stan Ridgeway, T-Bone Burnett, Loudon Wainwright and Dave Alvin subsequently organized benefit concerts to help Case defray some of the costs.
The fact that Case is loved by his fellow musicians but is virtually unknown to most listeners is a testament to his broad musical tastes and his disinterest in working an angle.
Case says that when he was a younger man, he chased success as hard as anybody.
“We (in the Plimsouls) wanted to be the biggest band, to make a million dollars, that sort of thing,” he says. “We wanted to be a great rock ’n’ roll band and get played on the radio.”
What led to the breakup of the Plimsouls was not infighting or ego trips, Case says. It is just that he had started to write new songs that were too dissimilar stylistically to the band’s music.
“I had a lot of different things on my mind,” he says. “I had started writing songs that the Plimsouls just weren’t going to do, so I felt I had to leave the Plimsouls. I thought I had to make a choice.”
Of course, Case could have tried to stay on top by remaking “A Million Miles Away” in various ways again and again.
But Case says none of the true legends of rock music could have survived by adopting such a strategy.
“I don’t know anybody who has lasted who did that,” he says. “You don’t see (Tom) Petty doing that.”
Case, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., says he inherited his love of music from his sister when he inherited her record collection.
He quit school at 15 and hitchhiked around the country, eventually deciding to settle on the West Coast. There, he formed the rock band the Nerves, which helped launch an L.A. punk scene that eventually led to the popularization of the music across the United States.
Which is ironic, Case says, because the Nerves wasn’t really a punk band.
“I guess we fit into that thing better than we fit into anything else,” he says.
And the Plimsouls, despite that hit single, wasn’t really a power pop band, Case says.
“ ‘A Million Miles Away’ was definitely power pop,” he says, “but it was real power pop like The Who, not that skinny-tie, mincing sort of thing.
“What we were was an aggressive rock ’n’ roll band,” Case says.
When he left the Plimsouls, Case says he was not turning his back on success; he was heading off in a direction where he thought he would achieve greater success.
For the next 20 years or so, Case pursued a critically acclaimed, if relatively obscure, solo career (with a few breaks for Plimsouls reunions).
Then heart problems looked for a time as if they might put a permanent end to his musical aspirations.
Case says the response of his fellow musicians to his financial problems made him “really happy to be part of music,” he says.
“People love music, and when you bring people something they love, that generates a lot of good will,” he says.
Case’s convalescence was long, he says, but after it was complete, he had “huge bursts of energy.”
“When you live through your worst nightmare, there had better not be much holding you back at that point.”
Case says he has no regrets about having followed such an idiosyncratic career path.
“I have made a lot of good music and made a lot of fans,” he says. “Getting into regrets is kind of fruitless.
“Now that doesn’t mean I haven’t had periods in my life when I’d wake up in the middle of the night screaming,” Case says, laughing.
A musician’s life is a weird one, Case says.
“There’s no security,” he says. “But then you look around and realize that nobody else has any security either.”
BUFFALO NEWS (Buffalo, NY daily)
By JEFF MIERS
Will the troubadour soon become nothing but a memory? Is there a place in our fast-moving, hyper-informational mess of a culture for the traveling singer-songwriter? Does that culture put any value on the independent, modern-day itinerant minstrel? If Woody Guthrie was alive and singing today, would anyone even notice?
These questions sit at the heart of “Troubadour Blues,” a new documentary that centers around the life and work of Hamburg native and revered DIY singer-songwriter Peter Case.
For nearly 40 years, Case has been touring the globe, guitar in hand, singing honest songs that document and universalize his experience. He’s been a road warrior since he left Buffalo for San Francisco in 1973. Along the way, he created influential art in the realms of garage rock (the Nerves) and power-pop (the Plimsouls). But at the heart of his art has always been the outsider status that is part and parcel of the wandering minstrel’s life.
Case — who comes to town for a flurry of performances surrounding the debut of “Troubadour Blues” as part of the Buffalo International Film Festival, including a show at the Sportsmen’s Tavern at 7 p. m. Wednesday — is revered by his peers, lauded by in-tune critics, and adored by a core group of followers. But major commercial success has long eluded him. The result of a personalized integrity that insists he do things his own way has been a marginalization of his art. This fact lends a bittersweetness to the case of Case, and in the film — produced and directed by another devout indie artist, filmmaker Tom Weber — several poignant scenes revolve around the notion of an against-the-odds survivalism.
As Weber writes in his press release for the film, “This is a story that needs to be told. In our media-saturated age of instant pop stardom, there is a real danger that the tradition of the itinerant working musician is being diluted or lost.” Artists like Case — and several similar troubadours featured in the film, among them Mary Gauthier, Chris Smither, Dave Alvin and Slaid Cleaves — occupy what Weber calls “the hidden corners of our culture,” areas where rugged lives are played out in song, and traveling is far from a luxury indulgence.
If you’ve ever been in a band, done a bit of out-of-town playing, then you know the drill — cram into the van, drive hundreds of miles between gigs, eat (badly) for sustenance not aesthetic enjoyment, sleep on the floors of fans and friends, get up and do it all over again. This can be fun when you’re in your 20s. But it becomes less so when you’ve been doing it for several decades, as Case has.
Yet, the music dictates that this be the lot in life of the men and women who channel it.
In one scene from “Troubadour Blues,” Case is seen revisiting some of the Hamburg haunts he played as a young man, fronting bands like Whaling Beamish and Pig Nation. In another, Case meets up with lifelong friends — and similarly revered Buffalo musicians — Mark Winsick and Jim Whitford, for a hang at the Sportsmen’s Tavern.
Gurf Morlix — another brilliant Hamburg-reared troubadour, who makes his home in Austin, Texas, these days — shows up in “Troubadour Blues” as well. What emerges from the film is the deep love these lifelong friends still have for the music itself. As difficult as the lifestyle can be, none has questioned his allegiance to the muse, and with it, his responsibility to document his times through song.
The implicit theme of the “Troubadour Blues” film — that we, as a culture, have undervalued the role of the storyteller and the authentic musician in our fascination with glittering, overproduced and largely disposable pop art — is rather difficult to dismiss. The folk tradition, which we can easily locate in the work of Woody Guthrie and his countless disciples — Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Case himself among them — is strongly tied to both “protest music” and activist traditions. Generally speaking, the lyrics are timely, and the melodies timeless. The music boasts a distinctly human element, and it needs the interaction between performer and listener in order to exist. Without anyone there to bear witness, the songwriter can testify until he’s blue in the face, and still end up much like the tree that falls in an empty forest.
The craft of the troubadour should not become a museum piece. Folk music is a vibrant form only when it reflects its immediate milieu, while recognizing the long tradition before it. Artists like Case have devoted their entire lives to holding up their end of the bargain. The rest is up to us. We can decide that the troubadour’s craft is a valuable part of our shared culture.
And we should. In a world where a T-Pain or a Katy Perry is rewarded in a manner not commensurate to their talent, it is a glaring injustice that an artist of Case’s quality is barely getting by.•
Visit www.troubadourblues.com for additional information and screening times.
ASBURY PARK PRESS (daily)
Peter Case brings his sound to the Record Collector
Peter Case fans can expect songs from his recently released “Case Files” as well as a smattering of folk and blues standards.
Richard Skelly | For NJ Press Media
On a recent appearance and performance on National Public Radio’s “Mountain Stage” program, singer-songwriter Peter Case told the studio and radio audience the reason he wanted to sign his then-band, the Plimsouls, with Elektra Records, was because he would have access to free Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie boxed sets. Even though the Plimsouls weren’t exactly known as a roots-rock act, the Buffalo-raised Case told us recently he’s always been into the blues and traditional folk music. He used to frequent James Peterson’s club in Buffalo, the Governor’s Inn, and he saw child prodigy Lucky Peterson play piano when Peterson was just 5.
Tonight at the Record Collector, 358 Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown, Case will perform a mix of his originals as well as some blues and traditional folk songs. Case is touring in support of his latest release, “Case Files,” a collection of out-takes and things that were recorded in Los Angeles during the last dozen or so years, in between regular recording sessions.
Interestingly, for such a literate songwriter, Case dropped out of high school and subsequently left home at 15, arriving in Los Angeles by the time he was 18.
“I got into classic R&B and rock ’n’ roll ’cause my older siblings were teenagers in the 1950s, and so I inherited a lot of singles when they went away to college,” he explains of his youth in Buffalo. “I had singles by Chuck Berry, Fats Domino 78’s, Link Wray and the Wray Men, Ritchie Valens, and all those early rock ’n’ roll singles. I grew up with all that stuff and when my older sister returned from college in the early ’60s, she turned me on to Bob Dylan and Joan Baez,” he recalls.
Although his decision to leave high school disappointed his dad, a jazz fan, and his mom, a Sinatra fan, at least they lived to see Case have some level of success in the music business.
“I used to go into New York City a lot to see musicians, but then I realized New York wasn’t far enough from Buffalo, so I went to California when I was 18. I had already decided by the time I was 14 that I wanted to be a musician,” Case explained.
Case tours mostly as a solo artist, and said patrons at the Record Collector tonight can expect songs from his recently released “Case Files” (Alive Records) as well as a smattering of folk and blues standards. Case will also perform songs from his two Yep-Roc releases, “Wig!” and “Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John.”
Case’s music is a delightful amalgam of all of his influences: Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Bert Jansch, Lightnin Hopkins and Sleepy John Estes, among others. Tickets to tonight’s show, which starts at 7:30, are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Also performing is Andy Shernoff of the Dictators. Call the Record Collector at 609-324-0880 for more information, or visit http://the-recordcollector.com.
TIME OFF MAGAZINE (Central NJ wekly)
MUSIC: Peter Case
Not playing what’s popular, but playing what he loves
By Keith Loria
Guitarist and singer Peter Case is known by different fans for different parts of his 30-year career. Punk rockers remember his years in The Nerves, rockers enjoy his Pimsouls’ years (especially the hit “A Million Miles Away,” which was featured on the “Valley Girl” soundtrack, and folk and blues lovers are big fans of his solo years.
”I’ve been solo for 17 years now, have played a couple thousand solo gigs, I’ve been Grammy nominated as a solo artist, had a solo record named album of the year in The New York Times, put out eight solo cds, compared to the Plimsouls’ three, won over audiences all around the world in places where the have never heard of, but people still refer to me as ‘of the Pimsouls,’” Mr. Case says. “I’m proud of the band, but I’ve done a lot more and a lot better since then.”
Case will be performing in Bordentown Friday, Sept. 30, at The Record Collector in support of “The Case Files,” a collection of unreleased tracks spanning most of his eclectic history.
”What I will be doing is playing solo stuff from different parts of my career, and this includes songs I haven’t recorded,” Mr. Case says. “It’s going to be pretty free-wheeling. I have 11 albums and I pull songs from all of these. My plan is to make a big sound acoustically. I just love playing live.”
The Buffalo native is proud of his new album and wanted to provide an outlet for some songs that he felt were strong, but just never made it on an album for whatever reason.
”What I really wanted to do was find things that were interesting musical journeys to take people down,” Mr. Case says. “To tell you the truth, I was just being intuitional and I put it together from the feeling of the songs together and what I wanted to get out.”
Even though he is a favorite of many top musicians, Case has never achieved the wide spread popularity that someone of his talent and caliber probably should have. The reason, most music critics agree, is because he never sold out his musical beliefs.
”I never played what was popular, I just followed what I loved,” he says. “When I came to California, I was into blues and rock and that’s always been my thing. I’ve always been into dynamic emotionally charged music you could use to tell a story or paint a picture.”
It’s thanks to his older sister that his musical identity was first established. Sort of like the opening scene of “Almost Famous,” Case learned about rock from the albums she let him listen to.
”My sister taught me rock and roll when I was 3 years old. Her singles collection—people like Chuck Berry Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino—became mine when she went to college,” Mr. Case says. “When she came back, I kind of became aware of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez and stuff like that.”
At just 15, Case quit high school and pursued his dream, moving to California and playing on the street.
While playing in San Francisco, Case was discovered by an up-and-coming punk band, The Nerves and the band went on to early success, opening for the Ramones at the beginning of the punk movement in 1977.
”A lot of people still talk about The Nerves or the Plimsouls but I have moved on from that with my solo work,” Mr. Case says. “I’m not looking back, I am looking forward. I tell people now I play folk-rock and they seem to understand. I am very focused on my playing guitar and singing.”
In 1996, the Plimsouls reunited for the first of several reunions and they continued doing gigs sporadically over the next 10 years and put out one album. Paul Collins and Case are currently talking about reuniting The Nerves for a small tour next year, and that’s exciting news to many.
”If people are really into some of this music I am talking about, I think they will really enjoy this concert,” Mr. Case says. “I’ve taken all this music I love and taken it to a new place and try to tell stories about now with this honest music.”
The Record Collector is located 358 Farnworth Ave., Bordentown. Doorts open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. On the Web: www.petercase.com; http://the-record-collector.com/
BROOKLYN ROCKS (Brooklyn online music site)
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Peter Case – “The Case Files” CD Review (Alive Records)
Bomp/Alive describes The Case Files as a collection of “demos, out-takes, one live shot & other rarities recorded between 1985 and 2010”. This description doesn’t do the disc justice as this is a pretty solid collection of tracks rather than the half-finished demos and cast-offs found in archival compilations by other artists (maybe Peter Case could give some pointers to whomever is managing the Marc Bolan/T Rex estate).
As this disc spans Case’s solo career post-The Plimsouls, there are some expected stylistic jumps. The music on The Case Files include: roots-rock, a heavy dose of blues, “Woody Guthrie style” social protest songs and a hint of the indie power-pop of The Plimsouls. The traditional blues number “Milk Cow Blues” was recorded live and the remaining tracks are a mix of full band studio performances and Case playing solo acoustic. The songs are a mixture of newly heard originals, early versions of songs that ended up on one of Case’s solo discs and covers of Alexandro Escovedo (“The End”), Bob Dylan (“Black Crow Blues”) and Rolling Stones (“Good Time Bad Times”) songs
The disc starts out strong with the upbeat root-rock tune “(Give Me) One More Mile” before heading into a social indictment of the past Republican administration with “Let’s Turn This Thing Around”. Musically, this later song is somewhat odd as it includes a host of sound effects (crowd noise, safety alarm noise, animal noises, etc.) along with some crazy synthesizer effects, courtesy of Stan Ridgeway. A chunk of the lyrics from this song are repeated on “The Ballad of the Minimum Wage” but on this later song, Case’s vocals are delivered beat-poetry style. Case also uses this spoken word delivery style on the other working class anthem on the disc “Kokomo Prayer Vigil”.
While there is nothing too ‘hard-edged’ on the disc, “Good Time, Bad Times” and “The End” are both bash ‘em out rock tunes. “Anything (Closing Credits)” (which sounds completely different than the version on Case’s 2006 release Torn Again) and “Trusted Friend” capture the pop sparkle of The Plimsouls and this first track features Eddie Munoz and the later was described by Case as a long lost track in between the Plimsouls and his solo career. Lastly, the disc also contains a stripped-down, melancholy version of “Steel Strings #1” (which features T. Bone Burnett) which was given a high-gloss sheen for Case’s first solo disc.
BEATROUTE MAGAZINE (Calgary monthly)
Miles to go before he sleeps
By Tim Horner
The singer/songwriter. The very term conjures steel guitars and open roads. Whitman and Twain. A life steeped in the folk of the Appalachian Mountains and the blues of the Mississippi Delta. The singer/songwriter is Americana.
Somehow, Peter Case transcends all of this. His 40-year career, which spans his formative work with The Nerves in the ’70s, the chart-topping success of The Plimsouls in the ’80s and the solo journey he has been on ever since, embodies the spirit of the troubadour without the trappings of the genre.
“Being an American musician – in the biggest sense of the word – means you incorporate all the music that you love,” Case says from his Los Angeles home, where he gears up for a fall tour schedule that brings him as far north as Alaska before a pair of dates in Lethbridge and Calgary.
“My thing is telling stories with songs. I use all the different kinds of music I love that mean so much to me to tell the story.”
The myriad of influences is evident on his latest release, The Case Files, a collection of previously unreleased demos, outtakes and live material from the past 25 years. The songs on the collection have an incredible sensibility of backbeat and percussion.
“I’ve always thought the marriage between different folk music and grooves to be an obvious thing,” says Case.
While obvious for someone with an equal passion for the ’60s pop form and the 12-bar blues, the insight is often lost on many of his singer/songwriter contemporaries, whose singularity with a lead instrument can forsake the power of a rhythmic bottom end.
Along with the latest album, Case’s tour will support the release of his second novel, Epistolary Rex. His creative writing is well documented on his blog, which hosts a cross section of poetry, politics and memoir. Among the memoirs is a piece about a teenage Case hitchhiking to catch hero Lightning Hopkins live in 1971, a travel bug that has lasted a lifetime.
“I jump around a lot. I’ve driven across Canada in the wintertime, across the continent, talking to people, and have gotten a sense of the whole country – yours and mine.”
With this sense comes recognition of the need to get off the road. When home, he divides his time on his writing, his family and teaching songwriting workshops at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in California.
“You can’t really teach songwriting. I teach people who write songs and get hung up on the process. I try to get their songs ‘hooked up,’ the game within the game. How things sound is more important that what you say; you can figure out what it means later. It’s about how things sound and timing and accent. The hard part today is finding examples of songs everyone in the class knows!”
Irony is not lost on Case.
“Today, we have total access to everything that ever existed, but no context. Hard drives with 30,000 songs. I’m teaching this music class and this kid is into this band, The Carbonas. I go, ‘Do you know why they’re called The Carbonas (in reference to the Ramones’ ‘Carbona Not Glue’)?’ He says, ‘Nope.’ He loves them but has no idea.”
The singer/songwriter. Case has spent a lifetime learning the craft of songwriting and sharing that knowledge on stage, on the road and in the classroom.
At the end of the day, the wisdom can be distilled down to what has truth, magic and meaning.
“Genre isn’t important. Style is important. That’s what makes an artist.”
LA BEAT (Lethridge, AB music magazine)
Peter Case plays the blues
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 11:15 Richard Amery
Buffalo born Los Angeles based folk musician Peter Case played the first show of the Geomatic Attic’s new season, Sept. 14. I arrived midway through the show in the middle of a poetry reading.
He alternated between a 12-string guitar and a battered electric as he worked through a career’s worth of songs, stories and jokes.
Peter Case opened the Geomatic Attic’s new season, Sept. 13. Photo by Richard Amery
Peter Case opened the Geomatic Attic’s new season, Sept. 13. Photo by Richard Amery
He seemed a little scattered in places, admitting he sometimes forgot how to play some of his songs unless he was actually playing them on stage. If he did forget how to play them, the audience didn’t seem to notice.
“If you want to take pictures, could you take them when I’m playing some really stupid fast songs,” he said.
And while I waited for the “stupid fast songs,” there weren’t any, though there were a lot of mid-tempo blues and folk with some pretty intricate finger-picking as Case played bass notes with his thumb.
The small but mighty audience of about 60 was familiar with his work, gasping in appreciation as he talked and played a variety of songs from his rock band days with the Plimsouls and a lot from his Grammy nominated “Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John,” Cd from 2007 including “Million Dollars Bail,” which was among several highlights of the show as well as a couple from his latest CD of obscurities “The Case Files.”
“House Rent Party,” was another uptempo highlight.
He talked about his time with the Plimsouls and how they smashed their equipment in front of about 50 people and spoke about being with the record label Elektra, prefacing a story about living in a dirty hotel across from his record label Elektra and saying getting the Leadbelly box set was the most valuable thing he got from them.
He played “30 Days In The Workhouse,” which Leadbelly made famous.
In addition to lots of his own songs, he played a lot of old blues on the 12-string including Blind Willie McTell’s “Broke Down Engine.”
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS (daily)
Peter Case revisits rock, returns to Alaska
Several big-name and/or hipness-bolstering shows have been announced in the past couple weeks. There’s Ghostland Observatory making its third two-night stand in two years at Bear Tooth Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 28 and 29. The indie-rock one/two punch of the Antlers and Menomena takes place at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium Monday, Sept. 12. Then there’s the recently announced Andrew Bird show that sent Twitter and Facebook, um, atwitter the other day. The indie-folk violinist and whistle-meister plays Atwood Concert Hall on Nov. 15.
One that’s been a little under the radar is a return visit from Peter Case, who’s playing Vagabond Blues in Palmer on Friday, Sept. 9, and Out North on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Case played in the regrettably easy to overlook, mid-’70s power-pop group The Nerves. That band took ’60s garage rock and mod influences and molded them into taut, hook-laden rock songs (think Big Star, Cheap Trick or the Who’s early years). The group only lasted about three years and left a slim discography, but it did produce one bonafide classic – “Hanging on the Telephone.” But The Nerves’ original probably isn’t the one with which most people are familiar. Most remember it as a hit for Blondie.
Case later started the Plimsouls, which carried on the same power-pop sound, polishing it up a bit with New Wave. In the mid-‘80s, Case emerged as a solo artist, releasing mostly acoustic-guitar-based folk albums. Last year he released the blues-rock record “Wig!” This past May saw the odds-and-ends collection “The Case Files,” which covers Case’s solo career from his debut folky days to his more recent return to rock.
Click here to check out bluesy number “Round Trip Stranger Blues,” the closing track on “The Case Files.”
Tickets are $23 for the Palmer show, $23.50 for the Anchorage one, available at centertix.net.