case-lang-veirsIt’s not that the trio of Neko Case, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs is an unlikely one. It’s that no one would have thought to put them together on one album. When the suggestion was made by lang to the others, whom she didn’t know too well at the time, it made for an exciting project. Lang, who is no stranger to collaborative albums, having recorded one with Tony Bennett back in 2002, and Case, who herself is part of her own supergroup, the New Pornographers, are familiar with the process.

Every track was written specifically for the album, with neither bringing anything in from before. Despite that, many of the songs aren’t terribly different from the respective catalogues of each artist. There’s still a sense of ownership with some of the tracks, where Blue Fires and Honey and Smoke are both obviously lang-leaning, Delirium is Case’s and Song For Judee ‘belongs’ to Veirs. But others are shared. In Atomic Number, the three trade lines among them and Down I-5 touches on the West Coast highway the three have in common that connects their cities. Throughout the record, their harmonies are present. As such, no one gets up-staged, no one steals the spotlight and, even though Veirs is the only one of the three to have a hand in crafting every song, they all have relatively equal footing – a rare feat when three strong artists are together on one album. It’s an effective effort and a shining example of how collaboration albums should be done – from start to finish. case/lang/veirs is a delicately fine record, albeit few stand-out moments, but nothing that would be deemed unworthy coming from any of them.
Four stars

1. Atomic Number
2. Honey and Smoke
3. Song for Judee
4. Blue Fires
5. Delirium
6. Greens of June
7. Behind the Armory
8. Best Kept Secret
9. 1,000 Miles Away
10. Supermoon
11. I Want to Be Here
12. Down I-5
13. Why Do We Fight
14. Georgia Stars

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