One of the things that crossed my mind when plotting this article out was how many musicians – male or female – do I know from Alaska?
The answer : One.
That’s not to say there are no other musicians there, but there is just one I would say I know well enough to remember and have from her first singles been a fan. I refer of course to Marian Call, someone who has brought back a different style of music than the plethora of utter nonsense that floods markets these days.
Her music is the strangest medley of folk, pop, jazz, acoustic-rock, classical and maybe even a little gospel that I’ve ever seen – and I’ve loved just about all her tracks.
I came across her first through her album Got To Fly which was a brilliant sample of her style. Also as importantly as the music itself, I loved the humour and awareness that flowed through her songs and the periodic peppering of geek culture that she infused into some songs, with some being outright geek-outs/homages to things she clearly loves.
She reminds me of Joni Mitchell more than a little (Marian says she’s a big influence) and something about her reminds me of the inventive, experimental and “anti-folk” stylings of Regina Spektor at times.
Her newest album, Something Fierce, is a two disc release but if you are unsure, head over to her bandcamp page where you can not only buy it online/digitally, but you can also (for free) stream and listen to the entire album. I promise if you do, you’ll want to pick up the album just to be able to listen to it again later. Home to a monster nineteen tracks, the album is possibly her best work till date and one I listened through all at once when I tried it out at the bandcamp link above. It is filled to the brim and then some with lovely, mellow acoustic sounds, some fantastic lyrics all around and soulful tunes to go with her amazing, lilting vocals.
She says that this album has taken her a couple of years to slowly put together and write/create and you know what? Listening to it, you can tell. You can find a remarkable depth and variety in her music and if you’ve heard her earlier music you can see how much she’s grown and how much she pushes her range in this album – vocally, musically, lyrically.
As someone who is considered by friends and peers to be a lover of “good” music and takes great joy in exploring genres and styles and discovering good musicians both on and off the mainstream – Ms. Call has definitely been one of the few real gems to be discovered the past few years. Her popularity growing constantly through the fan-base and word-of-mouth is a fantastic and heartening example of how just loving the music and the love of listeners and fans can be enough for a musician to be able to keep doing what they are good at and not be dependent on the big labels alone and need to do world-wide heavily sponsored tours and all that. Sure, it’s got it’s upside as well, but I suppose that’s a question of personal desire and interest and from what I’ve seen, she seems pretty darn happy with the way she operates even now.
She is unorthodox in her choices, using an old-school typewriter as a percussive sound in her geek anthem ‘I’ll still be a geek after nobody thinks it’s chic‘ among many others. Some you notice, some you don’t but the end result is always worth listening to, repeatedly. But while her music and lyrics alone would be enough to garner her fans, she has one of the most interesting and finest voices I’ve heard in a long, long while. It’s the kind of voice that you want to hear not just singing some lovely tunes, but one that sounds nice even in plain speech. Couple all that with her own in-built enthusiasm, energy and creativity and you have one very interesting and talented musician.
Her creativity even shows in the variety of album types and tones she’s produced. Her first album – Vanilla – was created in 2007 for friends and family and such but like pretty much her entire fan-base, the music spread from hand-to-hand and went ear-to-ear and found a following. Before you knew it, she was popular outside of her state and had fans all over the continent and through the internet, even further away. She showed her inventive and experimental streak early on with her follow-up effort with the “Songs of the Month” project which was pretty much that – how many musicians do you know of who’ve tried to do that? Not even the cookie-cutter pop-factory that has armies of song-writers and musicians to create songs for artists to just sing and move along (if they so choose) undertake such an adventure, let alone make it work! It culminated in the 2008 album Songs of the Month and Singles.which was filled with her now (pretty much-)trademark sounds which mixes music, geekiness and a tongue-in-cheekiness in her special style.
But her next album (mentioned above already) was Got To Fly which is a personal favourite for numerous reasons, the tracks being a reason each and others besides, not least of which is how much love for her geek-culture roots comes out in this album – particularly in relation to Battlestar Galactica (considered one of the finest drama’s in TV history) and Firefly, Joss Whedon‘s epic space-western mashup. In fact a song she wrote for a contest called the “Sing a Song of Saffron” entitled ‘It was good for you too’, homaging the character of the same name from Firefly itself, won first prize and much acclaim from almost everyone including the lovely Christina Hendricks who immortalised the character. And man it is one of the most genuinely sultry pieces of music I’ve heard in the longest time.
Bottom line, you should not only be listening to her new album, but I would highly recommend you check out her entire catalogue at the earliest possible instance.
32 Comments Add yours
Too cool. Love the music. Thanks for introduction. Top of the day to you.
Thanks! If you like it, share it with anyone you think might as well, I love sharing music and finding new talent.
And a cheers to you miss.
I’m heading over there right now to listen. Thank you so much for the introduction to her 😀
Most welcome, hope you enjoy it, would love to know what you think either way. Cheers…
Loved her spidey 🙂 thank u!
I love this songstress. I have been following her and her nerdy ways for a while now. I like to see her when she visits town, always a good show. Both her old and new songs are wonderful.
My interest in Marian Call started with my favorite Anthem. It wasn’t much past that when I purchased all Marian’s music. “Something Fierce” is fantastic. I highly recommend.
It is great and Anthem is definitely one of her all-time best. Thanks for dropping by!
There isn’t anything I don’t love about this! Do yourself a huge favor and listen to her. You won’t be disappointed.
I know what you mean! …and anyone reading this, that’s sage advice – take it.
It looks like Marian is going to re-release “Something Fierce” in a couple weeks. Love listening to her music and catching a live show is a real treat!
Not seen her live, but hope to someday. She’s prepping for the release now, hence the article. 😉
Saw her last night at Nexus Arts. Great show, wish her the best of fortune for the rest of the European tour and hope it won’t be too long before she returns.
If you think the disks are good, you should see the artist in person at a show! I’ve seen her do five shows near Boston. She and her guitarist were so outgoing that I thought she’d hop off the stage. And then she sang. (This post brought to you by the absent letters N-1 and D-1.)
I wish… someday my friend, someday. 😉
She’s this geek’s favorite singer-songwriter for the reason that a lot of her poetry speaks to his sense-of-life in ways few poets do. Yet perhaps the best thing about attending a show by this geek bard is her people — that is, the geeks of the sort who enjoy her work.
I know what you mean, the first half anyway 😀
This is definitely her strongest release to date, and I love the range of styles on it. So glad you feature it!
Can’t help but want to share it with everyone! 🙂
We saw her show in Auburn and it was fabulous. Loved the Sexy feather boa for “It Was Good For You Too.” She is so fun and personable and told us all about the gags native Alaskans pull on gullible tourists. Great night.
I finally saw Marian in concert this year after trying for the last three. It was well worth waiting for. And I can’t wait for my next one.
I love seeing people write about her. Her songs speak truth to my soul and I have a history of ending up in tears. Not only do her songs ring true to geeks, but those separated away as well. I’ve give her songs to friends that don’t watch Firefly or BSG or don’t identify as “geeky” and they fall in love just like I did. Seeing her sing live brings it all together. This reviewer has it right. She is what I think of when I hear Alaska and she is brilliant ❤
Thank you! 🙂
Saw the artist at a tiny gig in Trowbridge, Wiltshire (UK… where the history is). Great sound, nerdy style (in a good way) and engaging personality. Top Stuff.
Guess I’m just catching up on the tasks I promised I would do, Sorry Marian. Love the song ‘It was good for you to’ and finding out you are a fan of firefly, shame they had to tie up in the movie serenity. But enough about Firefly, really can’t wait for 3 days to be up so I can own your album. 🙂
Better late than never my friend! On with the adventure! 🙂
(and there can never be enough about firefly! ;D)
Thanks for the visit.
Attended a show in England, and loved every bit of it! She is wonderful live and this has been on repeat regularly. Eagerly awaiting her next venture.
You and me both! 🙂
Late to the adventuring as well, but here I go…
I saw her at her Toronto gig. I had to run afterwards so wasn’t able to talk with her, but she was great live and really kind to her supporters. I think she’s turned out truly beautiful songs on this latest release.
Side note: you run a great blog! Will have to visit often.
Thanks for the visit and the praise Stephanie, drop in anytime.