I Like to Keep Myself in Pain


Before Georgia-born Kelly Hogan became Neko Case’s reliable onstage vocal foil a few years back, she had a budding career as a frontwoman in her own right. She picks up the reins again on her first solo album in more than a decade, showing exquisite taste on 13 songs written by the likes of Andrew Bird, M. Ward and Vic Chesnutt. Backed by a band that includes keyboard legend Booker T. Jones, Hogan shifts easily between sounds and styles. The late-night soul tune “We Can’t Have Nice Things” finds her with recrimination in her voice, while the rootsier “Plant White Roses” brings out her natural twang. Hogan fully inhabits Chesnutt’s “Ways of This World,” lifting her vocals from a reflective murmur to full-throated anguish. Her original “Golden” is a tribute to Case, and it’s effective as both a mark of respect for her friend and a reminder that Hogan writes as well as she sings. –ED

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