Live

Casey Neill & The Norway Rats, Sassparilla, McDougall

When: Sat., Jan. 5, 9 p.m. 2013

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Despite their Scandinavian-sounding moniker, the Norway Rats are as American and blue-collar as Bruce Springsteen eating a peanut butter sandwich. Casey Neill's voice is warm and avuncular, seemingly designed for delivering hard advice and tough love, and his lyrics tend toward the evocative and memory-based.  And that makes them sad, somehow, though the stories he tells aren't depressing. Unlike most bands specializing in Americana these days, there's no gratuitous banjo, but there is a sense of open spaces and solemnity that combine with Jenny Conlee's keys and accordion to give the songs a hymnal quality. The Norway Rats capture the isolation and bigness of the American West as it is now—not as that imagined, mythic place that probably never existed. 2013 will see the release of All You Pretty Vandals, their first album in three years, as well as a string of dates supporting Camper Van Beethoven. REBECCA WILSON

Price: $12

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