Half Notes: Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (2009)

You will never hear anyone accuse Neko Case of “phoning it in.” She’s the kind of singer about whom there’s no doubt that she’s passionate about her craft, belting out a modern combination of Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn. The alt-country chanteuse returned here from a three-year break, and continued the slow, graceful distancing of herself from those backwoods roots by experimenting a little more as she had on each release. This time around she employed a “piano orchestra” for several songs recorded in the barn on the farm she’d just bought, and a 30-plus minute track of ambient noise composed solely of tree frogs from her nearby pond — the same frogs that kept interrupting those piano recordings. The track rounded out the album. Now that just sounds nice, doesn’t it?

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson has contributed to Blogcritics, and maintained a series of stand-alone sites including Known Johnson, Everything is a Mess and others. He studied both creative writing and then studio art at Arizona State. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.