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Peter Case from the album Doctor Moan available on Peter Case/Sunset Blvd. Records (by Lee Zimmerman)
Peter Case might once have been considered one of America’s great rock and roll heroes had he not shifted his stance and taken a more heartland route in the burgeoning days of Americana. His early efforts with underground ensembles such as The Nerves and The Plimsouls helped open the doors for bands like Blondie (who covered the Nerves’ “Hanging on the Telephone”), Mink DeVille, Television and other denizens of L.A.’s ‘underground in the late ‘70s. He had hits of his own — most notably “A Million Miles Away”, which eventually brought them to the Top 40 charts. However, once the group disbanded, Case opted to pursue a different muse, trading in his electric guitar for acoustic accouterments while taking rural roads through the American heartland in a new guise as a well-traveled troubadour.
The choice has served him well, and now, with nearly a dozen and a half solo albums in, he’s not only won the respect of his peers, but also the eager anticipation of an ever-growing number of fans and followers. With his latest effort Dr. Moan, he doesn’t necessarily change his tune but chooses instead to find a new means of expression. Inspired by the early sounds of rock and roll, jazz, blues, and folk music on which he was weaned early on, he taps into the piano as his primary instrument, exploring the solace and fascination it provided him during the enforced isolation of the pandemic.
While some may find it somewhat jarring that Case all but abandoned his trademark acoustic guitar — all save one song, “Wandering Days”, are all keyboard-driven — his melodic instincts are still well served. That said, some songs take a darker turn, beginning with the album opener, the ominous-sounding “Have You Ever Been in Trouble”, in particular. So too, “That Gang of Mine” is fraught with remorse and regret. Nevertheless, other entries simply allow Case to pound the keys in an effort to affect a more decisive delivery. “Downtown Nowhere’s Blues,” “Eyes of Love”, and “Ancient Sunrise” offer ideal examples, and with Case mostly responsible for the whole of the instrumentation, the emphatic approach is especially pronounced. Several songs borrow heavily from the blues — “The Flying Crow” and “Brand New Book of Rules” in particular — but for the most part, Peter Case simply applies modal expression in a somewhat spontaneous way.
Ultimately, the new album appears to have been a means of exorcising a restless muse. And in that regard, it appears to be just what the doctor ordered. (By Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Peter Case from AMAZON
For more information head over to the Peter Case website
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