The new studio album from singer-songwriter Chan Marshall, professionally known as Cat Power (and not a greatest hits album, despite the title), The Greatest contains all-original songs written by Marshall and was recorded in Memphis at Ardent Studios under the supervision of Stuart Sikes.
For over a decade, Chan Marshall, the one-woman train-wreck-in-a-good-way behind Cat Power, has come off like a busker straitjacketed in Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" jabberwocky. It's almost impossible to conceive of a world where she could exist independently of the adjectives "hushed," "stripped-down" or "minimalist." Good thing we said "almost," because Marshall has surprisingly turned the tables with The Greatest, a busy-bordering-on-rollicking (at times) new full-length of originals, with vigorous playing from Mabon "Teenie" Hodges and Leroy "Flick" Hodges, the guitar and bass brothers who helped shape Al Green's signature sound. Marshall's subject matter cottons well to the upbeat, soulful approach; the title track is-you guessed it-about a fledgling boxer (thank you, Muhammad Ali). The 12 songs in full conjure vintage Cowboy Junkies, as Marshall's southern drawl continues to intoxicate. The big question now: will she bring her ringers on tour, and how will they tolerate a freakout free-form tangent?