Peter Case On Mountain Stage American songwriting luminary and Mountain Stage veteran Peter Case returns to the show with more of his original stories and songs packed with wry humor and searing details.
Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage
Peter Case at Mountain Stage
Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage

Peter Case On Mountain Stage West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Peter Case On Mountain Stage

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/800390012/800424213" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

For the past three decades, American songwriting legend Peter Case has been stopping by Mountain Stage to share original stories and songs packed with his wry humor and Hunter S. Thompson-levels of attention to the oddly refreshing details. Carved from his long, strange musical trip — from Buffalo, N.Y., to California — Case pioneered a punk and roots deep-dive that would help enrich the genre-blurring Americana scene. He also served tenures in the 1970s California punk group The Nerves, followed by The Plimsouls, his rock and roll band that garnered success in the early 1980s.

On March 17, 2019, Case migrated back to Mountain Stage with host Larry Groce to share songs from his latest recording, HWY 62, which features guest spots from Ben Harper and D.J. Bonebrake. Groce introduced Case, a long-time friend of Mountain Stage, as "one of the most interesting performers we have ever had on the show."

The alt-folk hero burst out of the gates with "If I Go Crazy." For his latest trick, Case stated that he didn't have time to tell the full story of the song's inspiration but would say a few key words: "Casino, Dennis Hopper, horse race hot tip, 200-to-1 odds, all my money, horse falls down, catches up with all but three horses."

Introducing the career reflective tune, "The Long Good Time," which wasn't included in the radio broadcast, Case waxed nostalgic about his many Mountain Stage appearances with quick but rich details. He told a Unitarian joke by the late, great, folk icon Dave Van Ronk, and shared memories of playing Mountain Stage with Gordon Lightfoot, Mavis Staples and Groce.

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Case proved that his razor-sharp rootsy edges were finely honed and banged out the humor-filled acoustic power-pop gem, "I'm All Dressed Up for Trial."

Case became deadly serious and topical on "Water From A Stone," tackling a myriad of modern American problems from immigration, cancer rates and soaring student loan debt to general anxiety.

To end his set, Case went a-roving back to the beginning, enlisting the Mountain Stage Band in a rousing version of The Pogues' "A Pair of Brown Eyes." Case jokingly noted that he included the song on his first self-titled album "in 1902" — which history shows was actually released in 1986.

SET LIST:

  • "If I Go Crazy"
  • "The Long Good Time"*
  • "All Dressed Up for Trial"
  • "Water From a Stone"
  • "Pair of Brown Eyes"

"Pair of Brown Eyes" includes the Mountain Stage Band.

MUSICIANS:

Peter Case: vocals and guitar.

Mountain Stage Band: Ron Sowell: acoustic guitar; Ammed Solomon: drums; Michael Lipton: electric guitar; Ryan Kennedy: acoustic guitar; Steve Hill: bass; Julie Adams: backing vocals and tambourine.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Folk

Arthur Moon plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Kisha Ravi/NPR). Kisha Ravi/NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Kisha Ravi/NPR/NPR

Arthur Moon

The New York band (yes, band) is reminiscent of Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson and Dirty Projectors. Watch the five-piece play three songs at the Tiny Desk.

Taimane plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltrán Villamizar /NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltrán Villamizar /NPR

Taimane

Within the first moments of Taimane's magical set, we hear her play fiery flamenco, a famous phrase from the opera Carmen, a touch of Bach and more than a nod to her Hawaiian homeland.

Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

Eliza Gilkyson On Mountain Stage

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Acclaimed songwriter Eliza Gilkyson made her eighth visit to Mountain Stage to perform songs from her 2018 album, Secularia.

Eliza Gilkyson On Mountain Stage

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/811304482/811317758" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Indigo Sparke performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Nov. 21, 2019. (Catie Dull/NPR) Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

Indigo Sparke

The Australian singer transforms the NPR Music offices with a voice that, at moments, comes as a whisper.

Jenny Lewis plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Jenny Lewis

A consummate storyteller, going as far back to her days with her band Rilo Kiley, the words of Jenny Lewis comfort and inspire.

Elisapie performs during tiny desk on November, 26, 2019. (Photo by Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Elisapie

The Canadian singer-songwriter gives a deep, soulful performance against a sometimes moody backdrop of bass saxophone and bowed guitars.

Laura Stevenson performs at a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 12, 2019. (Emily Bogle/NPR) Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

Laura Stevenson

Backed by a small string section, Stevenson performed three songs that sounded so gorgeous, an actual marriage proposal broke out shortly after her set ended.

Mount Eerie plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Mount Eerie With Julie Doiron

Phil Elverum shares his open wounds — of death, love and the loss of love — in close harmonies, accompanied only by electric and nylon-string guitars.

Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

Anna Tivel On Mountain Stage

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Singer and songwriter Anna Tivel performs songs off her album The Question at Mountain Stage.

Anna Tivel On Mountain Stage

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/802959738/802982830" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Rising Appalachia performs during tiny desk on November, 19, 2019. (Photo by Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Rising Appalachia

The Atlanta-based band came to NPR in a van packed with a bodhrán (Irish drum), an ngoni (West African harp) a huge gourd, a cello, a baritone guitar and more.

Back To Top