Cat Power

Origin: Atlanta, Georgia

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Genres: alternative rock, electric blues, Electronica, Folk rock, indie rock

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Charlyn Marie “Chan”  Marshall better known by her stage name Cat Power, is an American singer-songwriter, musician, occasional actress, and model.  Cat Power was originally the name of Marshall’s first band, but has become her stage name as a solo artist.  In sixth grade, she adopted the nickname Chan, which she would later use professionally.

Growing up Marshall’s earliest influences came from her parents record collection of such artists as Otis Redding, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Rolling Stones, Black Flag, Sister Sledge, and Barry White.

Marshall’s first instrument was a 1950’s Silvertone guitar, which she refused to touch for a year considering it a piece of art.  Once she picked up the instrument she quickly taught herself how to play it.  Having to quickly select a name for her first group Marshall noted a man who walked into the pizzeria where she worked wearing a Caterpillar trucker cap and immediately decided on Cat Power as the name of the band.

Raised throughout the southern United States the Atlanta born Marshall began performing in local bands in the 1990’s.  By age 20 Marshall had moved to New York City where she recorded her first two albums with Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and Two Dollar Guitar’s guitarist Tim Foljahn.  The trio recorded a total of 20 songs in a single day that were split between two records; Dear Sir and Myra Lee, released respectively in October 1995 and March 1996.

Marshall’s sound has constantly evolved mixing punk, folk and blues on her earliest albums and elements of soul and other genres in her later material.  She has recounted blues, old soul music, and British rock and roll, as well as hymns and gospel music as being integral influences on her.  Her 2012 album Sun incorporated prominent electronica elements and arrangements which Marshall incorporated into the “really slow guitar-based songs” she had originally written.

In 2006 Marshall released her seventh album The Greatest.  Recorded in Memphis, Tennessee the Southern soul influenced album incorporated R&B elements with the Memphis Rhythm Band providing instrumentation.  The Greatest met with critical acclaim and won the 2006 Shortlist Music Prize, making Marshall the first woman to win the honor.  It was also ranked as the sixth best album of 2006 by Rolling Stone Magazine.

Marshall’s live shows are both famous and infamous for their unpolished and often erratic nature with songs ending abruptly or blending into one another without clear transitions.  On some occasions this has been attributed to stage fright and the influence of alcohol.  Marshall spoke openly about suffering from stage fright, specifically early in her career, and admitted that her stage fright stemmed from depression, alcoholism, and substance abuse.  As of 2006 Marshall’s performance style has been said to be much more enthusiastic and professional.  She attributes this increased stage confidence to her newfound musical collaborators and sobriety.

In October 2018 Marshall released her tenth studio album, Wanderer.  She also released two more singles, “Woman” featuring Lana Del Rey and a cover of Rihanna’s “Stay” prior to the album’s release.

Reference –

Cat Power’s discography

Dear Sir (1995)

Myra Lee (1996)

What Would the Community Think (1996)

Moon Pix (1998)

The Covers Record (2000)

You Are Free (2003)

The Greatest (2006)

Jukebox (2008)

Sun (2012)

Wanderer (2018)

Sacramento’s K-ZAP 93.3 FM plays the Marcus King Band.  All part of 50 years of Rock, Blues and More, 24-7 on our station’s stream at K-ZAP.ORG/LISTEN/