Cat Power: Chan Marshall (vocals); Judah Bauer (guitar); Gregg Foreman (piano); Erik Paparazzi (bass guitar); Jim White (drums).
Additional personnel: Mabon "Teenie" Hodges, Matt Sweeney (guitar); Dylan Willemsa (viola); Spooner Oldham (organ); Larry McDonald (percussion).
After establishing herself on the 2007 Matador-released album THE GREATEST as the indie world's answer to Norah Jones, Cat Power's Chan Marshall returned to the format of 2000's THE COVERS ALBUM for JUKEBOX, tackling tracks made famous by Hank Williams ("Ramblin' (Wo)man"), Bob Dylan ("I Believe in You"), James Brown ("Lost Someone"), and Frank Sinatra ("New York"), among many others. Marshall proved herself a unique interpreter on THE COVERS ALBUM, deftly folding a diverse set of songs into her own dark, dreamy sonic world. She expertly stays the course on JUKEBOX, sublimating the masculine bravado of songs by these artists into her own muscular yet decidedly feminine musical template.
JUKEBOX contains only one new Cat Power composition ("Song to Bobby"), but the many facets of Marshall are on full display here. And though the soul influence of THE GREATEST appears only fleetingly, it makes for what is perhaps the album's best performance, "Woman Left Lonely," a song written by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham and made famous by Janis Joplin. The track finds Marshall offering her audience, as she did on THE GREATEST, a glimpse of her raw vulnerability stripped bare of any arty concessions to the tortured psyche by which she defined herself for so many years.
Rolling Stone (p.62) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "She refashions material from other artists and makes it seem like it's been hers all along."
Spin (p.p.95) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "She's unafraid to be unfaithful and that's JUKEBOX's greatest strength....With Dylan acting as a bridge between the covers and her originals, Marshall finds intriguing new shadows to stalk."
Entertainment Weekly (p.70) - "Best of all is Marshall's redo of her own 'Metal Heart,' a hushed fugue from '98 that's been spurred into full bloom as a fiery rocker." -- Grade: B+
Uncut (p.80) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he music does get swampy and dark, but the atavistic urgings of the group are held in check by the gentle clarity of Marshall's voice."
Alternative Press (p.114) - 3 stars out of 5 -- JUKEBOX begins to mesmerize when Billie Holiday's 'Don't Explain' gets a Spartan, darklands-country overhaul, and Joni Mitchell's 'Blue' seems beamed in from a Holiday Inn lounge run by David Lynch."
No Depression (p.71) - "Marshall has an extraordinary voice....JUKEBOX is comprised of vast, arid patches of affect broken up by occasional tiny outbursts of emotion."
Q (Magazine) (p.91) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[H]er most polished record to date....It still catches the light and the imagination."
Blender (Magazine) (p.96) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Marshall works subtly. She revels in sly, unexpected phrasing, flickers in an out of hope like a candle and turns meanings inside out with a single, haunting phrase..."
Harp (magazine) (pp.91-92) - "[S]he's accompanied throughout JUKEBOX by her stellar Dirty Delta Blues touring band..."
Clash (magazine) (p.107) - "'Song To Bobby' is a touching reflection on the writers who have changed her life, a suitable tribute from one major talent to another."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.87) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Amusingly, she opens with a self-referential take on the ultimate cover, 'New York, New York,' which, almost incredibly, finds new life in the tired old words."