Saturday, February 2nd, 2008
CONTEST – Cat Power & The Dirty Delta Blues @ The Kool Haus – February 9, 2008
Someone was complaining to me earlier this week that I hadn’t been running any contests lately. You now be silent.
Cat Power’s last album, The Greatest, was a watershed moment in both her life and career. Her long-running battle with alcohol came to a very public but also very triumphant conclusion (hopefully) that saw her shed her frail folksinger persona and reinvent herself as a full-on, soul-singing diva. Her live shows, which had previously run the risk of being as much spectacle as show went from “afraid-to-watch” to “must-sees”. In short, 2006 and 2007 saw her become a star.
And how does she follow all that up? Well, last reports were that her next album of all-original material already had a title – The Sun – and a targeted release date of Spring 2008 but that’s obviously not going to happen what with the attention being lavished on her new record, Jukebox. On paper, it’s a sequel to her last such collection of interpretations, 2000’s The Covers Record but in reality it comes from a much different place. The Covers Record had the same fragile intimacy of her original material from that era, sounding like a woman taking shelter in the songs that she loved, hiding in the words of others.
Jukebox, on the other hand, evidences none of this vulnerability. It struts and sasses from the get-go, focused on Marshall’s marvelous voice and bolstered by the Dirty Delta Blues band coming off slicker than anyone might have imagined, even post-Greatest. Song arrangements and melodies are still turned on their heads but they’re done with a sense of conscious playfulness that I never picked up on with The Covers Record. It is worth noting, however, that the best track is one of two originals and the only new one, the Dylan tribute “Song To Bobby”. Even with her new strength and confidence, it shows that she’s still at her best when she lets the Cat Power drop a bit and reveals the Chan Marshall. Jukebox is a good sidebar but I’m still waiting for The Sun.
Cat Power and the Dirty Delta Blues are doing a shortish North American tour that stops in at the Kool Haus on February 9 and courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got one pair of passes to give away to the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I wish to attend the Cat Power concert” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, February 5.