HOLIDAY 2021 - Page 48

Neko Case

STORY BY BENJAMIN LERNER PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY NEKO CASE

Natural Talent

Critically-acclaimed singer / songwriter Neko Case speaks on her love of nature , her ties to Vermont , and her “ Entering The Lung ” newsletter
EBRU YILDIZ

In one of the opening lines of a standout cover track from her celebrated 2009 album Middle Cyclone , Neko Case speaks from the heart as she offers a sincere warning to her listeners :

“ Never turn your back on mother earth .”
Although the song was originally recorded by Sparks several decades earlier , Case ’ s haunting performance imbues the song with new levels of heartfelt emotion . Throughout the course of her creative career , Case has always been a staunch and outspoken advocate for environmental conservation and animal rights . Although Case ’ s passion for environmental advocacy is manifested through the lyrics of many of her most famous songs , her new Entering The Lung newsletter is a stark departure from the allegorical mystique that has defined her music for decades . Through her bold and candid newsletter posts , Case speaks on the transformative power of nature , her personal connection to Vermont , and the intersectionality of mental health and environmental awareness . Much like the forests that surround her property in the hills of Vermont ’ s Northeast Kingdom , her writing is powerful , unyielding , and constantly evolving .
Although Case ’ s life and musical career has taken her all over the world , she has long-standing ties to the Green Mountain State . From the moment that Case first came to Vermont as a young child , she was enchanted by its natural beauty . “ I came to Vermont for a couple of years when I was a kid ,” recalls Case . “ I lived up in a little town called Waterville in Lamoille County . I absolutely loved it . It was my favorite part of my childhood .”
When Case returned to Vermont decades later in 2007 to visit the site of her childhood home , she was surprised to find that the area remained strikingly similar . After running into old friends and reliving past memories , she made the decision to purchase a nearby property . “ Everything was exactly the same as I had left it ,” says Case . “ It was magical .” After Case acquired the property in the hills of Northeastern Vermont near St . Johnsbury , she built a recording studio in her barn there . It was there that she recorded many of the songs for Middle Cyclone , and found peace and artistic inspiration by reconnecting with her inner child through nature .
46 VERMONT MAGAZINE