Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

5. Neko CaseFox Confessor Brings The Flood

Neko Case is one of the few artists I’ve been into contemporaneously, in real time. And all of her albums are fantastic. You couldn’t fit a Rizla paper between them. It’s definitely in the Americana category, but I’ve seen her five or six times now, and I’ve never failed to come away absolutely breathless and amazed by her voice for a start, which is just insane. And the imagery she uses, and the atmosphere she creates, and her strength, how powerful her songs are. I think of her as the sort of woman who would walk into a dive bar and beat a trucker at an arm wrestle. And that’s the sort of atmosphere a lot of her songs have, although some of it is incredibly gentle.

There’s a cover of a song from this album called ‘Star Witness’, and it’s by two student girls, probably 16, sat in a stairwell, one of them on ukulele and one of them singing it. And when I saw it, I was just in absolute bits. Because it was like that message of strength has got through to another generation, and even more powerful is the fact it was two girls.

I just love her. She tweets a lot about women’s issues and and the music industry, and I just think she’s such an incredible role model. She’s a big animal rights activist and her songs about animals are fantastic. But they’re also about love about loss, about anything. About landscapes. There’s a song called ‘The Needle Has Landed’ about coming home, and she talks about filling her sleeves from wiping tears, wiping snot off her face, which is an amazing final image.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Billy Bragg
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