“Sleep All Summer” is a terrific way to kick off the season or a Neko Case show.
Case, who will perform Saturday at the Bing Crosby Theater, was wise enough to include the Crooked Finger song on her latest album, “Hell-On.” The gorgeous tune is the only “Hell-On” track Case didn’t co-write, but she loves the track, which was crafted by Eric Bachmann of Crooked Finger and Archers of Loaf fame.
“The first time I ever heard it (“Sleep All Summer”) was when the Crooked Fingers version was on KXCI in Tucson (Arizona) and I had to pull my car over to cry,” Case said during a call from Vermont.
“It was perfect. Eric ended up playing in my band for a while and I begged him to let us do it live because I love it so much. After we toured it for a couple of years, lots of folks asked if they could find a version so, Eric was kind enough to let us put it on the record. He’s a cooperator.”
But so is Case, who never lets ego get in the way of a good song.
“That would be a big mistake,” Case said.
Case, who is an indie rock legend at age 51, is uncompromising, cerebral and versatile. Whether the singer-songwriter is with her band, the New Pornographers, or on her own or performing with one of her side projects, she impresses with her consistency. “Hell-On,” her eighth album, is another project that is full of melancholy, inspective material.
Case, who calls Tacoma her hometown after experiencing a nomadic life as a child, again shares the spotlight as well as anyone. Guests such as the late Mark Lanegan as well as k.d. lang and Laura Veirs, who recorded the 2016 album “case/lang/veirs,” shine during their guest spots.
Case was wise enough to let her musical pals execute.
“It’s easy to cede time and space for great musicians,” Case said. “If you are going to hire someone who’s great at something, give them room! Tell the world!
“Ceding creative control, i.e., production, songwriting or veto power, is much more difficult. I’m detail-oriented, which is a kind way to say ‘control freak.’ So I guess it’s hard to get going, but I do since it makes the material better. I’m smart enough to realize that.”
Veirs and lang, who are super tight with Case, had a massive impact on the album from songwriting to production.
“They were the positive rocket energy behind the making of the record,” Case said. “I’m so grateful and I owe them big time. They all gave me their trust, which was a big confidence builder. I felt more present for the making of this record than I have since ‘Middle Cyclone.’ ”
“Hell-On” is arguably Case’s finest album since the release of 2009’s “Middle Cyclone,” which is comprised of atmospheric and brooding songs.
No one does brooding quite as well as Lanegan, who sang with Case during the bittersweet “Curse of the I-5 Corridor.” Case thought of the former Screaming Trees frontman shortly after she wrote the song because of his signature sound.
“People with low voices are rare, and his was very distinct and beautiful,” Case said. “I wanted him to sing on the song because we are both from Washington and from the same era.
“He knew firsthand the Curse of The I-5 Corridor. It was more than appropriate.”
Case insists that she wasn’t joking when she crafted the tune.
“Oh, there is most certainly a curse,” Case said.
Since Case, who produced “Hell-On,” is always in the studio or on the road, she admits she can’t pull it off without her team.
“I work with really talented people who manage to book things and keep things together,” Case said. “Organizing is not my strong suit. Without them, I’d be showing up late for some other job.”
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