Peter Case : The Short Cut


Most Nick-at-Night rerun retro junkies recall Peter Case as the slightly nasally voiced 1980’s desperado who lit up the soundtrack for Nick Cage’s first real tongue wagger Valley Girl with the FM hit “A Million Miles Away.” Maybe they can dig deeper and finger him as part of the tag team behind the quintessential mid-1970’s skinny tie power popsters the Nerves, who penned “Hanging on the Telephone,” made famous by Blondie. However, those of us with an ear to the current sound spectrum know Case as a rollickin’ singer-songwriter whose songs are loved by, and even adeptly covered, by folk stalwart John Prine (“Space Monkey”), lean post-punk Texas poet rocker Alejandro Escovedo (“Two Angels”), former rockabilly guitar king turned deep-voiced troubador Dave Alvin (“On My Way Downtown”) and beloved Tex-Mex rocker Joe Ely (“Put Down that Gun”).

Case has spent twenty-five odd years going back-to-the-basics, forging a mature and modern folk sensibility that synthesizes everything from Depression era boxcar and back porch songs to literate, incisive ballads that make the ghost of Jeff Buckley quiver. But don’t fear the folk reaper, for Case’s often-hardy songs shine way past the Prozac and yogurt haze of A Mighty Wind caricatures. This is not your grandma’s Kingston Trio redux! When knocked out live, the songs end up being rough and tumble as any rock’n’roll show.


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