Aurora

Case Garrett

Suitcase Records, 2017

http://www.casegarrett.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/17/2017

As near as I can tell, what largely separates a country outfit from an alt-country ensemble is the number of tattoos the band sports, the age of the band, and whether or not the band came from the hardcore punk scene. Well, rising artist Case Garrett doesn't appear to have sleeves, certainly isn't a spring chicken, and probably doesn't own a Minor Threat LP, but he's finding himself somewhere amid the alt-country umbrella on this debut album, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Aurora.

Opening track “What Can I Say” firmly plants Garrett in the arena of country music with its loud fiddles and moaning pedal steel, but things switch gears right into the solemn “Long Way Down.” A maudlin moment with aching strings and heavy introspection, it's a deep few minutes. “Going Down To Mobile,” on the other hand, is a fun, indie rock influenced strummer that is reminiscent of The Lemonheads with a country makeover, which is complemented well by the Wilco-like atmosphere of “She Never Liked Elvis.”

The second half of the album dives into swampier, Southern rock with a cover of J.J. Cale's “Call Me The Breeze,” where freewheelin' banjos make this one of the album's best, though the warm, feel good mood of “The Thought Of You” is a close second. The most collaborative effort here is the dual gender vocals of “Fill 'Er Up.” The album exits on the alternate mix of “Going Down To Mobile,” which isn't far off from the earlier version on the album, as near as I can tell, but it's a decent enough tune that twice isn't a real crime.

Honky-tonk, Americana, classic country, and variations of folk music are all sounds that Garrett knows intimately and displays well across these seemingly autobiographical songs. At just over 30 minutes, it's a quick listen, but one that can only leave us to wonder what sort of greatness Case Garrett has for us in the near future.

Rating: B-

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