The Deal: Chan Marshall releases second album of covers, with a couple originals stuck in.
The Good: Singer Chan Marshall's vocals have just the right amount of smoky flavoring, often reminding me of Susan Tedeschi. The album's tone is set from the start with a jazzed-out version of Frank Sinatra's "New York." She rolls into a slow, slinky cover of Hank Williams' "Ramblin' (Wo)man." The two originals – "Metal Heart" and "Song to Bobby" – are gems that fit in nicely with the classics. Among the other tunes are Bob Dylan's "I Believe in You," James Brown's "Lost Someone" and Billie Holiday's "Don't Explain." Marshall stands out when her vocals are the main focus and the music is spare – see "Silver Stallion." She truly shines in bluesy moments – "I Believe In You" – but the toned-down, sultry moments – "Woman Left Lonely" – aren't far behind.
The Bad: No complaints.
The Verdict: There are two ways to handle a cover song – as an imitation and as a tribute. This disc is full of tributes that have Marshall's style all over them. She's taken songs that may or may not be familiar and reworked them into something new.