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Cat Power

Penning songs that are offbeat in narrative, but literate and emotionally revealing, and performing them in a soulful, idiosyncratic style that reveals both strength and fragility, Cat Power was one of the most acclaimed singer/songwriters to emerge from the 1990s indie rock scene, a one of a kind artist unafraid to reveal her inner self in her music and follow her muse in a variety of different directions.

Cat Power is the stage name of Chan (pronounced "Shawn") Marshall, born Charlyn Marie Marshall in Atlanta, Georgia on January 21, 1972. Marshall's father was a blues musician, but her parents divorced when she was young, and she spent much of her nomadic childhood moving back and forth between her father, her mother, and her grandfather. While Marshall's parents didn't encourage her to play music early on, she wrote her first song when she was in fourth grade, and immersed herself in her stepfather's record collection, dominated by soul and classic rock. When Marshall was 16, she moved in with her father in Atlanta, and by 18 she had dropped out of high school and settled on her own. She fell in with a group of experimental indie rock musicians in Atlanta and began jamming with her new friends, initially for fun but eventually playing with several bands before forming a group called Cat Power. The name came from a trucker's cap emblazoned with "Cat Diesel Power" that Marshall spotted while working at a pizza joint. After streamlining it into a suitable band name, she later took Cat Power as her stage alias, and she began earning a reputation on the Atlanta music scene.

In 1992, Marshall relocated to New York City and initially focused her energies on writing songs, but as she became aware of New York's experimental music community, she was emboldened to put fresh emphasis on performing, and began playing semi-improvised shows around the city. In 1993, Marshall became acquainted with members of the group God Is My Co-Pilot, and with their help, she released the first Cat Power single, "Headlights" b/w "Darling Said Sir." Later the same year, Cat Power opened for Liz Phair in New York, and two of the fans who caught the show were Tim Foljahn of Two Dollar Guitar and his friend Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth. Foljahn and Shelley were impressed enough with Marshall that they volunteered to help her make an album, and they backed her on Cat Power's first full-length album, Dear Sir, released by Plain Records in 1995. A second album, Myra Lee, was issued by Shelley's Smells Like Records label in early 1996, featuring unused material from the Dear Sir sessions. Strong reviews and growing interest from the indie music community led to Marshall signing with Matador Records, and her third album, What Would the Community Think, appeared in the fall of 1996.

While Cat Power became known as a compelling performer, Marshall also developed a reputation for erratic live shows, sometimes performing with her back to the audience, stopping songs in mid-stream, or spouting spontaneous monologs on-stage, suggesting she was often uncomfortable in front of an audience, though on other nights she could deliver a solid, intense show. In 1997, Marshall's anxieties led her to drop out of music and move to South Carolina, but a bout of insomnia followed by nightmares inspired a new set of songs, and she opted to return to the recording studio. 1998's Moon Pix was recorded in Australia with accompaniment from Mick Turner and Jim White of the Dirty Three, and featured a warmer, more full-bodied sound than Cat Power's early work. Marshall set aside songwriting for her next project, 2000's The Covers Record, which included a new recording of "In This Hole" from What Would the Community Think, along with interpretations of classic songs by Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Velvet Underground, Moby Grape, and others. In early 2003, another Cat Power album was released, You Are Free, which offered a more polished and cohesive sound than before and featured guest appearances from fans Eddie Vedder and Dave Grohl.

In 2005, Marshall recorded The Greatest, an excellent soul-influenced album featuring Memphis R&B legends Mabon "Teenie" Hodges and Leroy "Flick" Hodges from the Hi Records Rhythm Section. The album came out in early 2006, and Marshall booked a tour in support, but the road trip was cancelled when her long simmering emotional problems and troubles with alcohol came to a head. Marshall would later tell a reporter, "The doctor said I had a psychotic break because I was suffering severe, massive depression and overwhelming stress." Marshall checked herself into a hospital to deal with her nervous breakdown and her alcoholism (she admitted to drinking as much as a fifth of scotch each day), and a few months later, she was back on the road with the musicians who helped her record The Greatest, delivering strong, confident performances and telling the press she had finally controlled her drinking problem.

After touring with the crew from The Greatest in the spring and summer of 2006, Marshall hit the road again later that year with a group she called the Dirty Delta Blues Band, featuring Judah Bauer of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Gregg Foreman of the Delta 72, and previous collaborator Jim White. The Dirty Delta Blues Band formed the core of Marshall's studio band for the next Cat Power album, 2008's Jukebox, which like The Covers Album was dominated by versions of songs by the likes of Billie Holiday, James Brown, and Joni Mitchell.

In 2009, Marshall became romantically involved with actor Giovanni Ribisi and moved to Los Angeles to be closer to him. The relationship ended abruptly in April 2012, while Marshall, who was taking time off from music to help Ribisi raise his daughter from a previous marriage, was working on her first collection of original songs since 2006. Adding insult to injury, Ribisi married his new girlfriend in June 2012. Marshall responded by putting the finishing touches on the album, called Sun, which was released in September 2012. ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Sun

1. Cherokee

2. Sun

3. Ruin

4. 3,6,9

5. Always On My Own

6. Real Life

7. Human Being

8. Manhattan

9. Silent Machine

11. Peace And Love

x

Track List: Dark End Of The Street

1. I've Been Loving You Too Long

2. Who Knows Where The Time Goes

3. It Ain't Fair

4. Dark End Of The Street

5. Fortunate Son

6. Ye Auld Triangle

x

Track List: Jukebox

1. New York

2. Ramblin' (Wo)Man

3. Metal Heart (2008)

4. Silver Stallion

5. Aretha, Sing One For Me

6. Lost Someone

7. Lord, Help The Poor & Needy

8. I Believe In You

9. Song To Bobby

10. Don't Explain

11. Woman Left Lonely

12. Blue

x

Track List: Jukebox (Deluxe Edition)

Disc 1

1. New York

3. Ramblin' (Wo)man

7. Silver Stallion

13. I Believe In You

14. Song To Bobby

15. Don't Explain

16. Woman Left Lonely

17. Blue

Disc 2

1. I Feel

2. Naked, If I Want To

3. Breathless

x

Track List: The Greatest

1. The Greatest

2. Living Proof

3. Lived In Bars

4. Could We

5. Empty Shell

6. Willie

7. Where Is My Love

8. The Moon

9. Islands

10. After It All

11. Hate

12. Love & Communication

x

Track List: Myra Lee

1. Enough

2. We All Die

3. Great Expectations

4. Top Expert

5. Ice Water

6. Still In Love

7. Rockets (1996)

8. Faces

9. Fiance

10. Wealthy Man

11. Not What You Want

x

Track List: Dear Sir

1. 3 Times

2. Rockets

3. Itchyhead

4. Yesterday Is Here

5. The Sleepwalker

6. Mr. Gallo

7. No Matter

8. Headlights

9. Runt 6

x

Track List: Cherokee (Nicolas Jaar Remix) (Single)

1. Cherokee (Nicolas Jaar Remix)

x

Track List: Could We

1. Could We

x

Track List: Moon Pix

1. American Flag

2. He Turns Down

3. No Sense

4. Say

5. Metal Heart

6. Back of Your Head

7. Moonshiner

8. You May Know Him

9. Colors And the Kids

10. Cross Bones Style

11. Peking Saint

x

Track List: Ruin (Single)

1. Ruin

x

Track List: The Covers Record

1. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

2. Kingsport Town

3. Troubled Waters

4. Naked, If I Want To

5. Sweedeedee

6. In This Hole

7. I Found a Reason

8. Wild is the Wind

9. Red Apples

10. Paths of Victory

11. Salty Dog

12. Sea of Love

x

Track List: What Would the Community Think

1. In This Hole

2. Good Clean Fun

3. What Would the Community Think

4. Nude As the News

5. They Tell Me

6. Taking People

7. The Fate of the Human Carbine

8. King Rides By

9. Bathysphere

10. Water & Air

11. Enough

12. The Coat Is Always On

x

Track List: You Are Free

1. I Don't Blame You

2. Free

3. Good Woman

4. Speak for Me

5. Werewolf

6. Fool

7. He War

8. Shaking Paper

9. Babydoll

10. Maybe Not

11. Names

12. Half of You

13. Keep On Runnin' (Crawlin' Black Spider)

14. Evolution

Comments

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I really like her voice. :)
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This is one of my favorite songs by chan Marshall. Along with Moon and cover of Moby Grape's Naked If I Want To. If I ever meet chan I'll ask her how she came to discover moby grape.
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mattanddonna
Lived in Bars. Favorite Chan song and video...
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I see .I see n feel the same.n a way ...


!?
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a curiously melancholy song...her voice and manner of speak/singin g reminds me of Tango with Lions
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Cool woman...
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I've seen her 3 times and one of them was in 2006 when she was really messed up and playing solo. She didn't complete a single song, sometimes left the stage mid-song and most of the time sang without a microphone in a huge ampitheater. It was bizarre.
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prsfmail-man
I ADORE you Charlyn (Cat Power), Big Hug from Peter
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For Evan.... We will always love Cat Power
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Moon Pix my pick of all her albums though I like them all :-)
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She is amazing
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Moon Pix is amazing.
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jstintnalarm s 7
Love it..can feel her music..inten s e .
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Reminds me of Beth Orten~
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Aerrx
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Txt I
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I love Chan... I love her voice and I understand her pain. Stay strong.
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itsmemsti71
Love cat power I can really melt away with your memorizing tunes thank u so much.
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Looks like I've drifted into the lunatic fringe here.
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chelseaolivi a c r a m e r
Like the music!!
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Thank God there were no children with the cheating Italian, hes a predatory guy.This woman deserves a good surrounding and nothing less.
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Goddess!! Your velvet melts allover me! Thanx & Blessed Be 2ward Loveliness.
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I feel the same way
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I only discovered her music recently through my Mazzy Star station, but I'm really digging Cat Powers music lately. I love finding artists that I wasn't familiar with before.
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Extremely creepy album covers, but sweet melodies.. O. 0
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Better late than never! Truly grateful I found Cat! Thanks to Mazzy Starr, I should wonder off more often !
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She is truly the best.
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Her choice of melody are sinful
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jkrukowski
I luv Cat Powe!
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jkrukowski
I �� Cat Power!
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armsbyned
F Cat Power. Sure, we all thought she was interesting at first but turns out she is overly precious, affected and an insufferably pompous and horrible live performer. So many better musicians out there more worthy of our time and admiration. Sorry Chan.
Report as inappropriate
Never been impressed by her voice or her style. It all sounds like rehatched folky hodgepodge.
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yeah, you have to say which song it is you are commenting on. That helps. I want to know what some one else liked. This is the artist page. Thankies.
Report as inappropriate
Meow! You are in great company. A real poet, but sooo much more....
Report as inappropriate
Amazin song! Clear instrumental as well! She Looks like Sandra bullock to me
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You realize this is the artist page, right?
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xhidden99
Prol the only Cat Power song I can stand. Her on stage behavior and habit of half finishing songs and walking off is too much.
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Wonderful interpretati o n of this song. Truthful voice that knows whereof she sings.
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MUSIC IS MUSIC....WTH ? lol
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I don't need gimmicks and idiosyncracy in my music. I find it to be an excuse for a lack of talent. This artist annoys me.
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caroncorpus
I love her songs sea of love and the greatest
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Nice
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where have you been all my life
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her voice haunts me
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This lady is astonishing me. Loving the clean tones, the affecting lyrics, the simply guitar work...
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Loving her!!!
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oh wow havnt heard her in a long time. What Would The Community Think was a big deal for me.
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Pandora is soo great at introducing me to new fantastic music! I'm always amazed at how much Greatness is out there!!
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my favorite singer of all time...
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:,)
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