On the anniversary of the release of her album Wanderer, we’re celebrating Charlyn Marie “Chan” Marshall, a singer-songwriter, musician, and model best known by her stage name, Cat Power.
Cat Power was originally the name of Chan’s first band, but she later took on the name as a solo artist. She is known for her unique sound, which is a mixture of blues, punk, folk, and some influences from hymns and gospel music.
Early in her career, Chan worked with Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth and Tim Foljahn of Two Dollar Guitar, recording her first three albums with them—Dear Sir (1995), Myra Lee (1996) and What Would the Community Think (1996) — in rapid succession.
Chan released several other albums over the years, notably her ninth album Sun (2012), which she self-produced, and which reached number 10 on the Billboard 200. Her tenth album was Wanderer (2018), which included a song featuring Lana Del Rey (“Woman”) and a soulful cover of Rihanna’s “Stay”. Though she strove for a more commercial sound with this album, it still stays in line with her other pieces. Of Wanderer, Pitchfork’s Jayson Greene writes, “With barely more than her voice and a guitar, she has built a rich and variable universe spanning an array of moods—unnerving, consoling, paranoiac, sensual—and her albums situate themselves along those moods like stations of the cross.”
Throughout her career, Chan also released a few collections of cover songs in her signature eclectic, unpolished style, the third of which and her most recent release was entitled, simply, Covers (2022). Of this album, FF2 contributor Hannah Lamb-Vines writes, “The tracks are echoey. They move fluidly between chorus and verse, skip and reword lines, then add whole new ones. They sound like the dream of music I hear when a song gets stuck in my head. Each song on the album offers something new, a new progression or rhythm, a new vocal technique, a new feeling. But together they form a coherent record that I will keep near the top of my collection.”
Each song on the album offers something new, a new progression or rhythm, a new vocal technique, a new feeling. But together they form a coherent record that I will keep near the top of my collection.
Needless to say, Cat Power has had a long and successful career, experimenting with her style but never straying from her strong musical identity. Her raw and indubitably her approach to music has captured the hearts of many, who anxiously await what she will do next.
© Julia Lasker (10/5/2022)
LEARN MORE/DO MORE
Read Hannah Lamb-Vines’ article about the release of Cat Power’s third cover album here.
Check out Cat Power’s website here.
Stream Cat Power’s music here
CREDITS & PERMISSIONS
Featured Photo: Chan Marshall aka “Cat Power.”
Bottom Photo: Album cover for Covers.
Photo Credits: Photos courtesy of Shore Fire Media.