Album Reviews

Peter Case

Hwy 62

Artist:     Peter Case

Album:     Hwy 62

Label:     Omnivore

Release Date:     10/30/2015


It’s been five years since Peter Case’s last studio set, an extraordinarily long time in today’s must have/can’t wait world, but with Hwy 62, he proves undaunted by any events that have transpired in between. Taking the tack he’s maintained since the very beginnings of his solo career, following his dissolution of his power pop combo the Plimsouls, he assumes the role of acoustic troubadour, eschewing drums and electric accouterments in favor of a stripped down sound befitting the rustic, rootsy sound that he continues to align himself with so effectively.

Borrowing its title from the highway that connects Juarez, Mexico with Niagara Falls, Ontario, only a block from which Case was born, Hwy 62 reflects the varied landscape and cultural diversity that it dissects along the way. Case’s rough and tumble style makes him an apt interpreter of the tales that occur along the way, whether it’s the gruff description that accompanies “New Mexico,” the twitchy take on the otherwise ominous “All Dressed Up (For Trial)” and “Evicted,” or the more ruminative focus of “Pelican Bay.” This is, after all, a man who dedicated an entire album to the work of the legendary bluesman Sleepy John Estes, and clearly continues to abide by the same lessons learned there.

Ultimately, the folksy, hard luck sound that pervades the album makes for an interesting if slightly idiosyncratic excursion, reminiscent of early Dylan and Guthrie in some regards, and some scary singalongs in others. Case makes his guitar ring, and the route he travels is full of both song and circumspect.

– Lee Zimmerman

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