By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Oct 21, 2002 at 5:29 AM

You can spend hours arguing about who was the queen of country. Was it Kitty Wells? Some would say Loretta Lynn. But what about the brilliant ? Then, of course, there was Patsy Cline. But in today's world, where the country singers coming from Nashville are as much models as musicians, Chicago-based Neko Case has no competition for the title.

With a towering skyscraper of a voice, the Virginia-born and Tacoma-raised Case -- who was the drummer in Canadian punk band Maow in an earlier life and also performs as one-half of the Corn Sisters, along with Carolyn Mark -- can belt out a rocker, but also coax the lust and love from a sappy ballad. Witness her third and latest full-length disc, "Blacklisted," released on Chicago's Bloodshot Records in late August.

The 14-track disc follows 2000's unmatched "Furnace Room Lullaby," and is loaded with spooky numbers like "Things That Scare Me" and "Pretty Girls" that sit astride uptempo tunes like "Stinging Velvet" and "I Missed the Point" and ballads like "I Wish I Was the Moon."

Fueling the band are guitarist Dallas Good and steel guitarist Jon Rauhouse, a long-time Case sideman and one who will accompany the singer when she makes a long-awaited return appearance at Milwaukee's Miramar Theatre, 2844 N. Oakland Ave., Thurs., Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. Also performing with Case is acoustic bassist Tom Ray.

Rauhouse's eerie and ethereal steel guitar runs lend a depth to the otherwise low-key, organic traditional country sound created by members of The Sadies and Calexico, among others.

John Doe, and Jim & Jennie & the Pinetops also perform at the Oct. 24 Miramar show. For more information, call (414) 332-3663.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.