Spotlight: Cat Power

Stubb's, 9pm

Spotlight: Cat Power

Given Chan Marshall's reputation as a lugubrious songstress and sometimes-unhinged performer, it's hard to know what to expect upon entering into conversation with her.

Not surprisingly, Marshall's mind wanders far and wide over the course of 20 minutes, from the club fire in Rhode Island and what effect that might have on her own performances to our stupid president and fighting with her boyfriend. In truth, it's pretty difficult to pin her down on her new Matador release, You Are Free -- the reason we're speaking.

The album, Marshall's first set of originals since 1998's haunting Moon Pix, is concerned with being good, being free, and is marked by the elegiac tenor of her previous work. Marshall infuses each baldly confessional track with lyrics so raw that someone wrote recently that Marshall's songwriting was therapy. The singer isn't necessarily disposed to agree.

"Therapy is someone you're paying to tell you that you're OK because you know you are in the first place, you just need a confirmation," posits Marshall. "I don't think that writing songs is the same, but sometimes journalists set stuff up for you, because they just want the answer they want. That's why I write music, because I fucking can't say what I mean."

In fact, it seems that Marshall is the only person who doesn't really care if she's a rock star. She's consistently portrayed as peevishly cagey when asked about the famous guest stars on You Are Free (Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder, for those of you keeping score) but insists that the strategy is just another media angle to shape her persona.

"I don't want to talk about famous people -- fueling that machine is a danger zone."

And perhaps that's why interviewing Chan Marshall is such a trip: Her playful coyness in person forces you to turn back to the music for the answers you seek.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Wednesday Interview
Wednesday Interview
Delta Spirit

Jim Caligiuri, March 20, 2015

Wednesday Picks & Sleepers
Wednesday Picks & Sleepers
First night SXSW Music recommendations and hints

March 20, 2015

More by Melanie Haupt
Desert Door Distillery Rolls Out Large Hand Sanitizer Production
Desert Door Distillery Rolls Out Large Hand Sanitizer Production
Local sotol makers offer the critical commodity free of cost

March 20, 2020

Tibetan Dumplings Shine at Yak & Yeti in Cedar Park
Tibetan Dumplings Shine at Yak & Yeti in Cedar Park
Dishes for sharing (or not) at this tiny Nepalese restaurant

Feb. 14, 2020


Cat Power, Chan Marshall, Matador, You Are Free

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle