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March 2003 Pick of the Month

Artist: Peter Case
Label: Vanguard Records
Length: 11 Tracks/53:10

Peter Case dropped out of school after ninth grade to make music and he has been ever since. Although he still hasn't made it as big as Elvis or the Beatles, you really can't hold that against him. Few have. What is surprising is that he's never had much success at all. Since the mid-eighties Case has been releasing some very good solo music. Previously he had been a member of the Plimsouls, a band which he did find some success with.

Beeline is a very good album in the acoustic-rock/americana vein. Case even covers some blues with "It's Cold Inside." New listeners might compare the music and lyrics to Bob Dylan or The Wallflowers. Lyrically Case is thoughtful and often witty. From "Mañana Champeen":

So here's to the procrastination champions of the world/
Who'd put off everything til doomsday and the last trumpet sounds/
Then along comes love: the magic chance, the lure, the dynamite/
Stirs you from sleep/
Like some volcano in the night and you're wondering: what is it?/
Is there still time enough to fight?
These songs were written after September 11th and like other artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Case addresses this new world in which we live in with his music. From "Lost in the Sky":
I'm too high/
Lost in the sky/
Feel like I'm falling and I'm wondering why

Five miles up/
Lost in the blue/
Drifting & silent/
Dreaming of you in a labyrinth winding through the cavern of clouds/
He said "I hope you trust God cause you're in his hands now

There are a few marks against Beeline however. The 11th track is a remix of "Something's Coming" that doesn't bring anything new to a song that was already good. Also, it's an enhanced CD and the lyrics can only be found on the CD-ROM portion of the disc. This could turn out to be annoying for anyone who doesn't have access to a computer. Aside from those complaints there's a lot of good things to be said for Beeline. The song selection ranges from catchy hum-a-longs to mellow listeners. If you're a fan of Americana, this album, released on Vanguard Records, could become a favorite.

Darryl A. Armstrong 02/09/03



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