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No matter the obstacle, Case keeps playing

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By Russ Gordon

The Los Alamos County Summer Concert Series presents Peter Case up at 7 p.m. Friday at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area.

He said he knew what he wanted to do at age 14 and that he was serious about his music. In 1965, he dropped out of school after finishing ninth grade and sang on the streets of Buffalo, N.Y. and the surrounding areas.

He was a folk and blues singer. He had his first blues band at age 16. By 1974, he was singing on the streets of San Francisco. In 1977, he and Jack Lee formed the power pop/punk band, the Nerves. They toured the country with the Ramones but soon after broke up and Case moved to Los Angeles. In 1979, Case formed one of the early punk -”new wave” bands, the Plimsouls and had a hit song, “A Million Miles Away.”

Case fought with his record company, Geffen, and that group broke up in 1983.

Case released his first solo album in 1986. T-Bone Burnett with Case’s first wife, Victoria Williams, produced the self-titled album, as well as John Hiatt, Roger McGuinn and Burnett accompanying.

The album won him his first of three Grammy award nominations. Case was also nominated for a Grammy in 2001 for producing “Avalon Blues,” a tribute album to his country-blues hero, Mississippi John Hurt.

This album featured performances by Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Beck, Dave Alvin, Peter and other major American Roots music stars. In 2007, he received his third nomination for “Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John.”  

Case wrote 10 of the 11 songs on the album and does most of the singing. Another successful album came in 1989, “The Man With The Blue Post-Modern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar.” The album featured Rock Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers Ry Cooder, Benmont Tench, T-Bone Burnett and David Hidalgo.

Case said, “I’m a singer/songwriter who uses all the American styles to get my stories across: blues, rock n’ roll, country, soul, R&B ... and folk plus rhythmic influences from around the world,” and he attempts to put it into “dynamic, emotionally charged music you could use to tell a story or paint a picture.”

Case started in folk-blues, went to rock, punk, new wave, folk-rock and now, after a 2009 double bypass surgery, he’s had the time to work on new music.

His new album, “Wig” was released last Tuesday. He’s back, he’s rocking and he’ll be at the ski hill. Come and see how cool he really is.

Case’s good friends Dave Alvin, Richard Thompson, Joe Henry, Loudon Wainwright III and Van Dyke Parks have all worked on fundraiser concerts to help with Case’s expenses from his surgery last year.

This concert could very well be the Los Alamos concert of the year.

    The show will open with the Los Alamos/ Santa Fe soulful rockers, the Tiho Dimitrov Band. Tiho is an excellent guitarist who last played Los Alamos as a member of Julie Stewart and the Motor Kings.

His band includes Los Alamos ex-Motor Kings’ Rob Heineman on bass and Gregg Woodfin on his B3 organ and keyboards. Tiho and the band will start at 7 p.m.

Check out www.petercase.com and www.reverbnation.com/tihodimitrov.

 The Ski Hill concert will be “Pajarito Mountain Ski Area-Los Alamos Monitor-Santa Fe Bandstand Night and it’ll be a dynamic, high energy, rockin’ and fun evening. Hope you can make it.

 July 9 at Ashley Pond we’ll present a return concert by ex-Santa Fean and Austin Hall of Fame singer/songwriter, Eliza Gilkyson. I’m sure you’ll recognize her music. I know you’ll remember her late father, Terry Gilkyson’s music.

I’m really excited because accompanying Eliza will be one of my favorite guitarists, acoustic or electric, Nina Gerber. I’ll write more about this show next week. The Eliza gilkyson show will be Plateau Property Management Night.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gordon is the organizer for the Los Alamos County Summer Concert Series.