ARTIST: Kelly Hogan
TITLE: Beneath the Country Underdog
YEAR RELEASED: 2000
CHART ACTION: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: She covers Whispering Pines
LINEUP: Kelly Hogan, Tom Ray, Steve Goulding, Andy Hopkins, John Forbes, Celine, Barcley McKay, Jon Langford, Neko Case, John Wesley Harding, and others
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Mostly known as one of Neko Case’s compatriots, Hogan’s first Bloodshot release interprets some country deep cuts in good form.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: She’s better known as Neko Case’s sidekick, a backing vocalist for the Decemberists, and a session singer, but Kelly Hogan has made a few records on her own. Her debut is long buried, but this was her first record for Bloodshot Records.
Using Jon Langford’s Pine Valley Cosmonauts as a backing band, Hogan rips through interpretations of deep cuts of some noted country writers, other alternative country artists, and a few originals. The backing is spot on and Hogan’s in good voice, and hits all of the right emotional notes as needed.
For those who like alternative country and Neko Case’s earlier work, this is a good record to have around. Hogan’s vocal ability deserves more than her backing vocalist stints (though that does pay the rent).
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Among the artists she covers are the Band, Johnny Paycheck, Willie Nelson, and Stephin Merritt from the Magnetic Fields.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B+: Perfectly fine alt-country.