Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Cat’s out of the Bag

Say the name “Cat Power” to most people and they’ll probably think you’re referring to a DC Comic heroine. But mention it to indie rock enthusiasts and they’ll know you’re referring to a singer who also goes by the name of Chan Marshall. I feel she’s an artist who deserves far more attention than she receives. She has a quiet, husky voice, a down-tempo delivery, and has produced some outstanding work.

I’d classify her early recordings as singer/songwriter. Then she stretched out a bit and recorded The Greatest, backed up by a group of soul musicians from Memphis, TN. It’s an R&B outing that’s her most uplifting and accessible release to date. Her most recent recording is a cover CD and the rumor is her next one will be one as well. Her latest work is well worth listening to, however I must admit, I’m partial to her earlier recordings.

If you ever have the opportunity to see her live, jump at the chance. It is one unique experience. When I saw her I couldn’t tell if she was really high, shy, or slow in the head. Or a combination of all three! She came out and performed with her Memphis group, and then did an extended solo set, accompanying herself on guitar and piano. In between songs she babbled incoherently, a bit like Grace Slick used to do on stage. I got the sense that she’s most comfortable in a solo setting. She finished the set somewhat awkwardly with the full band. But in the end, she was still Cat Power.

One of her vids:

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