Neko Case and Kelly Hogan

Neko Case and Kelly Hogan

The Shortening Sessions: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn

Bloodshot

Loretta Lynn was the original “RiotGrrl.” Long before Joan Jett scoffed at her own “bad reputation,” Loretta had sung “Rated X,” as true and sharp as any protest singer of the Sixties would have dared to be. Lynn’s enormous and long-lasting appeal is due in large part to the simple fact that she doesn’t pull any punches. When she loves, she loves hard, and when she falls, she tells you in plain words exactly what the world looks like from the bottom. As a musician, she has few equals. As a poet, she transcends the genre that pulled her from Butcher’s Holler all those years ago. So, it’s hardly surprising that two of contemporary music’s sassiest sisters have found a common ground in the music of Loretta Lynn.

Neko Case, Canada’s latest country crooner — whose The Virginian album on Bloodshot is a gem — chimes in with a faithful reproduction of “Rated X.” Backed by the Sadies, Case’s “get up and go” energy drives this song into the ’90s, and she even does the fade monologue just like Loretta. Great stuff. If you haven’t heard Neko yet — get with it!

Former Atlantan Kelly Hogan (Jody Grind, the Rock*A*Teens) takes a more rockin’ mood to “Hanky Panky Woman,” a record she found in a yard sale many moons ago. Last heard on Bloodshot’s Tribute to Bob Wills and providing backing vocals on the new Waco Brothers, Wacoworld , Kelly and guitarist Andy Hopkins, drummer Jason Benson, and John Forbes (The Mellowcremes) stomp and romp through the song like they are doin’ the nasty. Hogan’s voice is like butter melting on a high tension wire, and their take on this somewhat obscure Lynn song is a soundtrack to gettin’ busy.

It would be a shame if the generations to follow grow up not knowing the magic and strength of Loretta Lynn’s music. But with talents like Case and Hogan pumping this music out, that probably won’t be a problem. The single features the artwork of Waco Brother and head Mekon Jon Langford.

Bloodshot Records, 912 W. Addison St., Chicago, IL 60613; http://www.bloodshot.com

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