I adore Marian Call.
I first became acquainted with her talent on JoCoCruiseCrazyII in February of 2012. She was one of the performers, but because her room was across the hall from mine, I met her before the ship even left Fort Lauderdale. A pretty redhead with a suitcase stopped in a doorway, said "Hi, I'm Marian," and held out her hand for a good cordial shake. After our short, polite, how-do-you-do exchange, we retreated to our separate rooms. That's when my husband told me I'd been speaking to a famous person! I'd heard that stars were generally bitchier and antisocial, so I guess that's why I didn't recognize her. Too nice for show biz.
Her show knocked my socks off. You know that episode of the Simpsons, where Bart and his buddies end up in Branson Missouri at an Andy Williams show, and Nelson is completely entranced?
I was Nelson for her whole show. (Note: nobody was asleep or drooling during Marian's show, so the analogy isn't perfect. But I was still totally Nelsony the whole time.) Here's what I said about her in my cruise recap post:
Did I enjoy the concert? Well, I came home with Marian's double album, and would have come back with even more of her stuff if the gift shop hadn't been sold out of it. But Marian is so, so incredibly wonderful, that she handed out free download cards to the Sea Monkeys so we could all go to her site and get some of her music, even if we were too poor to buy albums on the high seas. Her concert absolutely blew me away. I was chatting with Dave about how I hoped the show would be good, and then the lights went down and she started her first song, Love and Harmony, and I was hooked. Some of her songs are silly, and some of them will reach inside you and push buttons you didn't know were there. I cried at Anchorage, and I didn't even cry when Bambi's mother died. While I enjoy Marian's albums very much, I think she's the sort of performer whose voice really comes alive in a live show. She tours a lot and does very small shows - look her up, ask her to come to your town. You won't regret it.
She's got a new album coming out - Something Fierce - and it's wonderful. Sometimes light and catchy, sometimes a little deep, and immensely re-listen-to-able. I find myself coming to my car after work and fishing out her CD to listen to whichever one of her songs has spent the whole day rattling around in my head. I wish I was a better music reviewer so I could describe the album and her music in fancy terms, but I'm not. All I can say is I like it a lot, I think she's incredibly talented, and I hope my friends check her stuff out and give her a listen. You can download two of her songs for free here - it can't hurt to try, right?
The album is being released with fanfare, of course, as all albums should, but Marian is a geek and she knows her fans well. Her recent European tour was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and was given a video game theme. She took the theme even further for the ramp-up to the album release, giving her loyal fans "Quests" to complete. She gets press, we have fun and interact with other fans. It's absolutely win-win, and it's been a blast so far.
I'll be participating in her Quests for the next two weeks, and I'll be reporting back on the game once I'm done. Stay tuned!