Neko Case, Live from Austin, Texas

John Schaefer

By John Schaefer

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Live From Austin TX

Neko Case
The acclaimed indie songstress strips down for Austin City Limits

Stripped of studio effects like overdubbing and Case's beloved reverb, the songs on Live from Austin, Texas have to stand or fall on their own, unadorned merits — and most prove quite sturdy. Recorded in August 2003, for an episode of the venerable Austin City Limits, Case performs a number of the songs from her then-current record, the splendidly edgy, almost menacing Blacklisted. The opener, "Favorite," and the chilling "Ghost Wiring" both work beautifully in acoustic, rootsy form. And on "Deep Red Bells," Case channels Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline as well as she does in the studio. But "Maybe Sparrow" might be the most convincing part of the show — an unplugged but still very "alt" bit of alt-country. The set also includes a surprising range of covers, from Dylan ("Buckets of Rain") to Sarah Vaughan ("Look for Me (I'll Be Around)") to Lisa Marr ("In California"). Two of the best come from Case's years on the indie rock scene: a rocking version of "Knock Loud," from the Vancouver band Bob's Your Uncle, and a pure country reading of "Hex" by Freakwater's Catherine Irwin.