Sweethearts of the Rodeo

Chicago transplants Neko Case and Kelly Hogan carry the torch for 21st-century twang

Both women possess a powerfully erotic stage presence. Case is known to introduce "Whip the Blankets" by propositioning anyone within earshot, and has earned something of a reputation for performing in various states of undress. She cultivates the image offstage, too: Looking every bit the femme fatale in red coat and heels in the photo on the back of her new disc, Neko sits atop a man's sprawled form, thumbing through his wallet. A recent issue of Esquire included a full-page glam shot of a leather-clad Case beneath the caption "Women We Love."

Women we love: Neko Case and Kelly Hogan
Women we love: Neko Case and Kelly Hogan

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Hogan is more likely just to stick to ribald banter, which she employs to break down barriers between band and fans. When the pair toured the U.K. last month, Kelly says, "Everybody who came to our shows was over 50 with gray hair and a beard. So it was fun to blow those dudes' minds--'cause older dudes have more money to spend on CDs."

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