I remember when I first heard Neko Case. The Rough Guide to Americana, a Rough Guide compilation I’d bought in 2001 to help me expand my knowledge of alternative country, a genre I was just starting to explore. Track 3, Neko Case & Her Boyfriends “Guided By Wire.”
Case’s pure country voice was instantly arresting. High and taut, with the dust of the prairie and a twang in the tail. The song was sung of hearing voices and struggling with mental illness, and with rough-edged guitar and an endearing single-take feel it became a quick favourite.
It sent me out to track down as many albums as I could, falling more and more in love with her songs and her voice with each purchase.
And to tell as many people as I could about her. That’s a particular joy, discovering and falling in love with some new artist or album – or beer or bar – and seeing others discover them and their popularity grow.