The Weegee photos reminded me of this great album cover by the modern day sweetheart of the rodeo Neko Case, who wraps her velvet torch of a voice around some of the most gut wrenching tunes you're likely to hear around these parts. She's Chicago-based, although she came of age musically in Canada, playing drums in the punk band Maow before recording her solo debut The Virginian (with a few pals of mine in her band The Boyfriends), a straight-up indie rock barndance that was a lot of uptempo fun with a few soul-melting ballads thrown in for good measure. But it was on this album, and it's follow-up Blacklisted (which has a cover that's just as dark) that Case found her real voice, somehow connecting all that country pain with the feel of a film noir, sung in a voice that's pure and unaffected.
Case also sings with the fabulous art pop band The New Pornographers and is a member of The Corn Sisters with Victoria twang mistress Carolyn Mark, whom I shall be hoisting many a glass to on Saturday night at the atmospheric, below-street-level Seahorse Tavern.
If you've already heard Neko, then I'm preaching to the choir, but if you care anything for what can be done today with the "roots" of American music, then I'd rate Case's recordings a must-have.