Friday, October 30, 2015

New Peter Case Album-- Released Today


37 years ago today, New York early punk band Blondie released Hanging on the Telephone, a catchy 1976 song by L.A. underground trio, the Nerves. Today one of the founding members of the Nerves, Peter Case, progenitor of the Americana movement, released his newest CD,Hwy 62. It's his 13th solo effort, although it's funny to call an album that features incredible musicians like Ben Harper and DJ Bonebrake a solo effort.

Peter plays his songs, mostly in clubs, for a living. You may have seen him in the last year playing at Alan Grayson (D-FL) rallies. I have a feeling there'll be more of those over the next year. Neither Case nor Grayson told me so; I'm just judging by the powerful lyrics about some of the same social justice issues that Grayson works on in Congress. If you watch MSNBC's Lock Up Raw you already know about Pelican Bay, the title of the compelling first track on the album, a powerful indictment of the inhuman treatment convicts are subjected to in solitary confinement, suddenly an issue of concern on both sides of the aisle. Criminal justice legislation-- pushed forward in the Senate by liberals like Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and by conservatives like Mike Lee (R-UT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA)-- will, on passage, ban solitary confinement for juveniles in nearly all cases, and allow those sentenced as juveniles to seek a reduction in sentencing after 20 years. One of my favorite songs on the album, All Dressed Up (For Trial), gets in on the argument even earlier in the criminal (in)justice system.

Peter's a musical storyteller, writing and performing songs about life and survival in our country-- "from both ends of the highway, both sides of the road, from the wide open urbanscape to deep inside a solitary cell." He says that "Everybody says I’m a troubadour, since I perform alone and bring the tales. The challenge was to make a 'troubadour album' that rocks with electric energy... HWY 62 connects east with west, north and south. I’m connecting three-chord rock ’n’ roll, to all kinds of American music, bringing together stories I’ve lived and found along the way, music about now.

Sometimes eviction comes even before trial and before prison, before prison, before going crazy and this last song, "Evicted," is another one I instantly fell for. Hard to resist:



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