We’re kicking off our countdown to Newport Folk! Each week we’ll be featuring an interview with an artist who has either graced the Newport stage or who will be playing this year. There is no better way to start this series off than with our first guest, Neko Case. Neko tells 12 stories on her recently-released album, Hell On, and the stories are ones that people from all walks of life can find themselves in. The inclusivity of her work is what Neko and I spend a good deal of time talking about. We go over how her songs can be both personal, yet relatable. After spending so much time making sure that your music is accessible to the widest audience possible, we then discuss how frustrating it can be for journalists to pigeon-hold your work by giving it a moniker such as “music for women,” when it is truly music for all.
I revisited Hell On after chatting with Neko, and that sense of relatability is overwhelming. Case has an impressive way of writing about isolating experiences that capture the essence of the situation without ever making the listener feel alone. After listening to Hell On and chatting with Neko I can’t stop thinking about how I can do better as a journalist, how I can relate to people more, how I can make an effort to see people as they wish to be seen, and how I can be easier on myself. Something tells me this is exactly what these songs were meant to do.