Marian Call pictured. Photo courtesy of Brian Adams.

Marian Call pictured. Photo courtesy of Brian Adams.

Juneau singer-songwriter releases 10th album

Juneau singer-songwriter Marian Call just dropped her 10th album, “Standing Stones,” also marking a decade as a touring musician living in Alaska.

Call describes her acoustic sound on her Band Camp as “a little like Joni Mitchell meets They Might Be Giants &Regina Spektor for bourbon &laughs.” Her subject matter has ranged from geek anthems and humorous takes on life to covers.

As she does a mini tour in Washington and sets up a booth with Alaska Robotics for Emerald City Comicon, in a phone interview she said it was incredible to reach this milestone. Even though she didn’t know how long her career as an indie artist would last when she began, “if a road like this opens up for you then you just follow it as long as it goes.”

The internet changed the music scene. Fifteen years ago, she wouldn’t be able to do what she does: write the records she wants and connect with fans from all over the world while living in Alaska.

“It’s about 10 years ago that Myspace was really happening and people were discovering indie musicians on Myspace and I was like “Oh, I could do this.’ Myspace is no longer here but I still am,” she said.

She credits her fans for supporting her. She has a presence on Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes, and has Kickstarted albums and international tours, as well as has fans who support her through Patreon. Fans still support her through purchasing her music digitally or in CD format even though they could just stream her music.

“They know they don’t have to buy something from you anymore but when they choose to … they’re voting for you to stay in the art world,” she said.

Call is known for her quirky, humorous songs, like “I’ll Still Be a Geek After Nobody Thinks it’s Chic,” but she decided to take a serious turn for “Standing Stones,” and so far, fans love it. It’s also gotten a good reaction from radio, she said. Her next step will be to promote her work and see if she can get her songs placed in TV shows and commercials as she preps for her nationwide tour from June through November.

“Standing Stones” is based off of the Christian prayer book of the Middle Ages “The Book of Hours,” but instead of a devotional, “Standing Stones” is written in her words, ones she can believe in and hopes others can too.

“As an atheist living in the modern era, I still feel like I need words to believe in and repeat … I wouldn’t want to be saying something dark or false every day because you have to do it over and over again. If I have to repeat something every day, I want it to be true. It’s like a modern book of prayers that’s for anyone no matter what they believe in,” she said.

The album features other local artists like Laura Zahasky, and was recorded in Austin, Seattle, Anchorage and Juneau. “Standing Stones” is a project that has consumed Call for well over two years. She did her fundraiser for the album one and half years ago, and started writing it a year before that.

“I’ve been living with these songs a long time now even though for everyone else, they’re just hearing them for the first time.”

She has 30-40 pages of poetry that didn’t make the cut for the album that she hopes to release for fans in the future. Like most creative projects, a lot of whittling was done to bring out the best.

“It’s part instinct and part calculation,” she said. “You have to be brave and cut everything that is not the strongest … You can always use it later in another song but when you’re making an album, you want everything to point at the message and to reinforce it.”

The first single “Oregon Trail” already has a music video out, animated by Pat Race of Alaska Robotics. Race recreated the imagery of the 1971 game “Oregon Trail” where an ox is shown pulling a covered wagon all the way to Oregon, where the pioneers discover they were not the first to live there — Native Americans were.

“It’s a great game, and I love the game, but I think it’s also this myth we all grow up with, that over time you start to realize is just a short-hand, mythical way of describing our history, and the more you look the more complicated it gets,” Call said on the birth of the song.

Her next single, “Like This,” is about living on the internet, “trying to find out the boundary on where you exist and where you exist as only others see you.”

She encouraged other indie musicians to find a online platform they feel comfortable with.

“Find the avenue that works for you and find the audience that cares about you, and then pay attention to them and don’t worry about what anyone else says. Don’t worry about what the musician next to you is doing because that might not work for you. Focus on your strengths and what feels comfortable,” she said.

In Call’s next album, she hopes to experiment with electronica, a skill set she hasn’t learned yet, but hopes to mix with her acoustic sound like other artists she likes. Before her national tour, she will perform during the second annual Juneau Comic Con on April 22, @360 North.

“Standing Stones” is currently available for sale digitally at https://mariancall.bandcamp.com/album/standing-stones and other online retailors will follow soon. The physical copies will be sent out in late March. CDs will be sold at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center and Alaska Robotics.

For more on Marian Call, go to: mariancall.com.

Contact Capital City Weekly staff writer Clara Miller at clara.miller@capweek.com.

Marian Call pictured with microphone. Photo courtesy of Brian Adams.

Marian Call pictured with microphone. Photo courtesy of Brian Adams.

Marian Call pictured. Photo courtesy of Brian Adams.

Marian Call pictured. Photo courtesy of Brian Adams.

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