Case/Lang/Veirs by Neko Case, k.d. lang & Laura Veirs
I greeted this album with such excitement; here three musicians that I have admired for some time have made a record together. The story goes that k.d. lang called both Laura Veirs and Neko Case, and suggested they collaborate. There seemed to be no hesitation, except for the usual scheduling constraints, and finally it’s here!
Case/Lang/Veirs was recorded at Tucker Martine’s studio in Portland, Oregon. Martine has previously produced, among others, M. Ward, The Jayhawks, Sufjan Stevens, and Mavis Staples’ latest record, as well Laura Veirs’ last few records, which is convenient as Veirs and Martine happen to be married.
This new record sounds like a Laura Veirs record; its sparseness and echoing sound is both vast and epic, which suits Case’s style. Yet it’s Lang who really captures the tone of this album with her heartbreaking song, ‘Why Do We Fight?’ Lang and Case have each recorded four songs for this album, Veirs five, and the three musicians come together on the opening track, ‘Atomic Number’. Veirs takes the opportunity to salute an often neglected singer, Judee Sill, in her track ‘Song for Judee’, which is a companion to her song for Alice Coltrane, ‘That Alice’, from her last album Warp and Weft. Judee Sill was the first artist signed to David Geffen’s label Asylum in 1971; she made two amazing records, but fell out of favour with Geffen before dying tragically young and being forgotten a few years later.
I am not forgetting Neko Case’s contribution to this record, the more I hear her track ‘Delirium’, the more I am reminded of what a force of nature she is. This album would give anyone unfamiliar with any of these exceptional artists a good introduction; and it should find its way into many Top 5 records for 2016 lists.
Michael Awosoga-Samuel is a bookseller and music specialist at Readings Carlton.