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Cat Power's Curious Night of Music at the CMA Theater in Nashville

by Rich and Laura Lynch

There was something a little strange about the CAT POWER SINGS DYLAN concert on Sunday, February 25, 2024, at the CMA Theater in Nashville, Tennessee. Like the warm beverage that was delivered to her chair shortly before she took the stage - this performance might not have been everyone's cup of tea as the dark lighting paired with the subdued acoustic songs had us clamoring for the electric portion resulting in a reversal of the reaction Robert Zimmerman got many decades ago when his fans were outraged by the more aggressive approach to his muse.

Power is in the midst of a tour that recreates Bob Dylan's 1966 Manchester Free Trade Hall (mislabeled as Royal Albert Hall) concert where he angered the stuffy British audience by switching to electric instruments halfway through the show. I guess in the years before social media and near instantaneous news distribution the English fans must have missed the memo that Mr. Zimmerman had already famously "gone electric" the year prior at the Newport Folk Festival. But rage on they did with a chorus of boos and shouts of "traitor" ringing through the hall.

Cat says of the music: "When I finally got the opportunity to play The RAH, it was a no brainer. I just wanted to sing Dylan songs", thus honoring one of her major influences. Power's career has spanned several decades, and she is well respected for her raw and real approach to song craft whether it be her originals or covers that she often makes her own.

Power's acoustic renditions reminded us of a stripped down, Cowboy Junkies style take on the first seven numbers that included lengthy versions of "Visions of Johanna" and "Desolation Row". The electric portion featured an upright piano, keyboard, drums, two guitars and bass. The sound was well mixed so much so that you could clearly hear the harmonica. Power sang with power as she performed the songs in the same order as Dylan himself. So, we were treated to classics such as "Tell Me, Momma", "Ballad of a Thin Man" and the closer "Like A Rolling Stone" during the electric set.

Cat's muse has gone through a number of lives from a mix of punk, folk and blues on her earliest albums, to elements of soul and other genres later on while also playing covers which allows artistic interpretation and Bob Dylan's catalogue is perhaps one of the most reimagined of them all. CAT POWERS SINGS DYLAN will be on tour through August of 2024.

Related Links: For more information on CAT POWER and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Cat Power | CMA Theater


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