KCP Presents is delighted to welcome three-time Grammy nominee Neko Case back home to the Northeast Kingdom for a special concert showcasing the singer/songwriter’s newest work.
Case will perform at St. Johnsbury Academy’s Fuller Hall on Sept. 27, with opening act Thao of The Get Down Stay Down.
It’s been five years since Case’s last solo project, The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You.
Case set to work on her next record looking not just for new stories but for new sounds. She traveled to Sweden and teamed up with Swedish producer Björn Yttling in the fall of 2017.
But in the middle of her stint in Stockholm, she got a surreal 3 a.m. phone call telling her that her Northeast Kingdom house was burning and would likely be completely destroyed.
Hours later, Case went into a Stockholm studio and laid down the vocals for “Bad Luck,” singing lines she had written long before she realized they would land on her.
Case is now stoic about the fire.
“If somebody burned your house down on purpose, you’d feel so violated. But when nature burns your house down, you can’t take it personally," she said.
The month before the blaze, Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas and flooded Houston. Case’s home burned just as Hurricane Maria plunged Puerto Rico into a nightmare and wildfires were incinerating California. “In the big picture, my house burning was so unimportant,” she says. “So many people lost so much more: lives and lives and lives.”
Case’s new record Hell-On came out of all this reckoning with lost stories. Death, extinction, exploitation, tides, animals, and adoration all blend recognizably. Case’s trademark narrative gaps, just large enough for listeners to enter each song, will be familiar to longtime Case fans. As with Fox Confessor Brings the Flood and Middle Cyclone, Hell-On spins away from conventions of story, slipping into real life with its fierce mess and blind catastrophes. But Hell-On deviates from Case’s familiar patterns as well.
“I’m writing fairy tales, and I hear my life story in them, but they’re not about me,” Case says. “I still can’t figure out how to describe it. But I think that’s why we make music or write things. You’ve got to invent a new language.”
Regarding those fairy tales she’s writing and the history she’s recounting, Case continues, “We need them now more than ever. We need stories from all sectors. Stories without endings. Stories with multiple endings. Stories that don’t end happily, cautionary tales, everything. We don’t need Disneyfied stories anymore.”
Tickets to see Neko Case at Fuller Hall in St. Johnsbury on September 27 are available at www.catamountarts.org or by calling 748-2600. Neko Case has partnered with PLUS1 so that $1 from every ticket will go to Peer Solutions (www.peersolutions.org) in support of their positive youth leadership and development program designed to prevent harm before it begins and engage lifetime ambassadors for positive change.
The KCP Presents Series is produced by Catamount Arts working in association with Kingdom County Productions and supported by generous local sponsors with grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Vermont Arts Council.