Friday, January 25, 2008

Jukebox Hero

It's cold here. And rainy. I'm in sweatpants and slippers. Even the dog seems a little melancholy. This kind of day calls for laid back, bluesy music. Thankfully, I've got the perfect soundtrack.

Cat Power's new album, Jukebox, came out on Tuesday, and it's pretty much been on repeat on my iPod all week. I started listening to Cat Power (real name Chan Marshall) beginning with her CD The Greatest, but wasn't originally drawn to the music because of her. Let me explain:

I grew up in the Mississippi Delta. The Delta's probably not known for a whole lot, but one thing that it is famous for is its blues musicians.  My hometown is actually gave the world BB King, who many would argue is the greatest living blues musician. He returns every year for a homecoming concert, so as long as I can remember, I've gone to see this living legend play in our town park (jealous yet?). Since I've been exposed to blues music my whole life, I have a real appreciation for the musicianship involved. What really drew me to The Greatest was that the backing band would be some of the most talented studio musicians from Memphis, who she called the Dirty Delta Blues Band. So while I was originally excited to hear the work of the backing band, it was Chan's vocals that drew me back.

Jukebox is an album of covers (Chan's second, following 2000's The Covers Record), but this record is far about as far from sounding like bad karaoke as you can imagine. Still backed by the Dirty Delta Blues Band, she puts her sexy, bluesy twist to songs ranging from "New York, New York" (which she calls simply "New York") to a gorgeous version of Janis Joplin's "Woman Left Lonely". These aren't your cover standards either - my personal favorite song (which is only available on the deluxe version of the album) is the the Roberta Flack standard "Angelitos Negros". If you thought that making Latin music sexier was impossible, you need to check this song out.

As great as this song is for just lazing around the house on a gross day, it is also an incredibly sultry album. I can picture sitting in front of the fire with a cuddly blanket and a glass of red wine with your significant other with this as your soundtrack. In fact, I'm going to break out a bottle of Merlot right now. Enjoy!

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