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Peter Case gets his kicks on Hwy 62
Writing about "Hwy 62" on his latest album came easy for singer-songwriter Peter Case.
He grew up in Hamburg, N.Y., near Buffalo, in the shadow of the country-spanning roadway. When he was four years old Case even tried to run away from home using the route, until his older sisters retrieved him and steered him back home. So gleaning inspiration for songs came naturally.
"Highway 62 is something I've been thinking about for a long time," Case, 61, says by hone from a tour stop in Brooklyn. "When I was really little I used to go up there and watch the trucks go bay. I didn't know then that it goes all over the place, from where I grew up to where Buddy Holly's grave is in Lubbock (Texas). The Everly Brothers grew upon Highway 62 and that's the first album I ever had. It seems like a connection to the whole world to me.
"So that's where the idea came from, just this two-lane road that ties the country together. And it's got as much history and as much great musical stuff going on as that other highway, 61, that more people know about."
Case stresses that the songs on the album aren't strictly about Highway 62 and its sites, but it did provide a thematic framework for the album. It also provided case with a setting for socio-political commentary, not something that's new to the onetime Plimsouls member's music but subject matter that's timely in an election year.
"This is an album about a society tailored for winners, and I'm not really into that," Case explains. "I'm into a society for every human. Songwriters have always written about the losers; the losers are the big winners in songwriting. But we're idealists, too, and what's a greater ideal than to make winners out of losers and give them a better place in the world, even if it's only in a song."
This year also marks the 30th anniversary of Case's self-titled debut album, following the demise of the Plimsouls. He's hoping to release a commemorative edition of the album, and he's wrapping his head around the idea of a past three decades that's seen 10 other studio albums (though "Hwy 62" was his first in five years) as well as an all-star tribute album "A Case For Case" in 2006.
"It feels like both 30 minuets and 30 years," Case says. "It seems like yesterday in a way, but a lot of things happened and a lot of things didn't happen. I'm still here. I feel like this is one of my best albums, so I'm still making good work and people seem to back me up on it. What more can you ask for, really?"
8 p.m. Friday, March 11
Trinity House Theatre, 38840 W. Six Mile road, Livonia.
Tickets are $18, $15 for subscribers.
Call 734-464-6302 or visit trinityhousetheatre.org.
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