Cat Power, Arsun

Chan Marshall answers the phone in a strikingly soft whisper. Two decades of emotive folk and blues as Cat Power contrast with a mother putting her 3-year-old down for a nap. She recently toted the toddler on a European tour, and solemnly shares he’s her most compatible travel companion ever.

“I’m not as wild as I was before,” adds the Georgia-born artist, who started performing overseas in her early 20s. “We do all the tourist shit during the day – going to see the fountain, that beautiful park, or making sure we eat macarons in Paris. Having somebody that’s consistently there is very, very special.”

The 46-year-old parent wrote her 10th LP, Wanderer, while pregnant. Concerned for her offspring’s well-being, she called on the “ancestral DNA explosion” of child-bearing women throughout history, referencing the near-mystical scientific impacts of birthing on a mother’s cells and genetic makeup. When her son arrived healthy, Marshall created the sweeping, reverent single “Woman.”

She never did share the song with longtime label Matador, which rejected the album, causing the singer to sign with Domino. Given her six-year break between releases, she worried over “the rock critic jurisdiction of, ‘Oh, it’s just Cat Power’s sad sack, pity party bullshit.’” Outspoken admirer Lana Del Rey lent both vocal and emotional support for the track.

“Her light on my songs is a symbol that people who listen subconsciously understand,” says Marshall. “It isn’t just me. It’s us. We’re a team, women in general. No one wants to be alone with their protest sign.”

Laying her feelings bare, the career wordsmith seems only hindered by the limitations of prose, tripping over sentences to let them loose as fast as she can. She ducks down into a murmur again for parting words.

“My little boy just woke up. My lord is beckoning.”

Rachel Rascoe
2015 E. Riverside, 888/512-7469,


Cat Power
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