Jukebox

Chan Marshall, who records as Cat Power, followed her 2006 album, The Greatest, with a prompt breakdown, canceling tour dates and costing her record label, Matador, a boatload of cash. But the album was a triumph, and by the end of the year, a newly sober Marshall played the best shows of her career. Technically, there are only two original songs on Jukebox, but Marshall again proves -- as she did on The Covers Record -- that anything she touches becomes wholly her own. Backed by the Dirty Delta Blues Band, Marshall dips into the catalog that made possible her own Memphis soul. Radical reconstructions are everywhere: Sinatra's "New York, New York" becomes a slinky, down-tempo paean to restlessness, more cautionary tale than celebration, and a Hank Williams classic becomes "Ramblin' (Wo)man." Dylan is reworked, too (and not for the first time), with "I Believe in You," from his Christian phase. And the sole new song on the album, "Song for Bobby," addresses the man directly, as Marshall writes about discovering his music as a young teenager, and later, catching his ear with her own work. Recalling the view of her icon from her perspective as an audience member, she asks, "Oh my god, can you tell me who you were singing to?" One answer is certainly Chan Marshall, who returns the favor in song. -

July 22: On this day in 1941, on his twelfth wedding anniversary, Eugene O'Neill presented the just-finished manuscript of Long Day's Journey into Night to his wife, Carlotta.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.

Landline

What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.