Charlie Marie summons up an immense amount of courage in light of a heartbreak. With “Tough Kitty,” an essential cut off her new record, Ramble On, the Rhode Island singer-songwriter channels a ferocious inner roar into song. “Sometimes, we need to be put to the test and experience a break up to realize it,” she says.
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A finger-picked arrangement adorns her quick-tongued lyrics. You said you loved me, that was a lie, she laments with an ounce of venom. You broke my heart and made me cry / What a pity, baby I’m a tough kitty.
During a waitressing shift at Coachmen’s Lodge, located in Bellingham, Massachusetts, Marie noticed one of the draft taps had changed out again. “A while back a milk stout named ‘Tough Kitty’ was added to the mix,” she tells American songwriter. “I thought it was a cool idea and wanted to write a song about it. There is vulnerability that is masked by aggression and a courage that lies beneath the pain.”
You didn’t like it when I disagreed or talked back / Wanted me to play the part of your lap cat, she continues in the second verse. Thanks to you I’m stronger than I was before / I found courage and now you’re gonna hear me roar.
Marie’s debut record Ramble On, predominantly produced by Tyler-James Kelly (of The Silks) with contributions from Brian McKinnon and Ben Klise, spins with classic country tradition. Her voice pierces right to the bone, both harkening to a bygone era and emerging as a beacon for today. Mostly written alone, except for a handful of collaborators, including Rose Falcon and Amanda Renkel, the album leaves an indelible imprint on the mind.
“What I love most about songwriting is being able to share what I’ve created with others. I’ve found that music brings people closer together, and writing a song is the first step in doing so,” shares Marie. “My process typically begins with a ‘hook,’ an idea that I can build off of. Sometimes, a song comes easy, but usually it takes time to fully develop. I also enjoy giving songs space. Writing can be like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, letting a song breathe helps you see it from a different perspective.”