A great co-bill featuring two of America’s great troubadours.Peter Case, founding member of the Nerves and leader of the Plimsouls, and the first troubadour of the post-punk era, returns with his first album of new songs since 2010’s Wig! The Nerves’ 1976 “Hanging on the Telephone” EP, its title song covered by Blondie, remains a classic and has earned the band a strong following of young fans around the world. The Plimsouls song “A Million Miles Away” is a power pop classic. Case’s debut solo album, produced by T-Bone Burnett, earned him his first Grammy nomination and spearheaded a songwriter movement, now dubbed Americana. Twelve solo albums and two more Grammy nominations followed, including one for his 2007 album Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John.
All along, Case has continued to tour consistently. HWY 62, due out October 30, 2015, collects tales from his journey, and brilliantly encompasses every facet of his diverse and critically acclaimed career. Much like a travelogue, HWY 62 includes pieces of Americana, blues, pop, and folk — all anchored by Case’s knack for creating the perfect hook.
Visiting planet Gurf has always been an enlightening experience. After all, this Gurf Morlix fellow – Buffalo born, Texas bred – has provided us with countless indelible musical moments in the last 40-plus years: his exemplary guitar and production work with Lucinda Williams; his instrumental accompaniment to artists ranging from Blaze Foley to Warren Zevon; his production of watermark albums for artists such as Ray Wylie Hubbard, Robert Earl Keen and Mary Gauthier – and, since 2000, a series of eight solo records that have a singular worldview and can be both harrowing and heartening, often at the same time.
Now, prepare yourself for “The Soul And The Heal”. Gurf Morlix’s ninth album is another chapter in a songbook that pithily relates the human condition. But though Morlix’s signatures are still present on this masterstroke – lyrics that don’t waste a syllable, instrumentation without a spare note – there is also a hopefulness and vulnerability not always readily evident on his recent releases. The fact that “The Soul And The Heal” is pivotal for Gurf is immediately clear from the striking front cover image of a heart-shaped cherry with its pit exposed, and from the stark title that he says speaks to “the healing of the soul from all the damage we inflict on ourselves”.