Marian Call’s New Album “Sketchbook” Is Splendid – Plus, Giveaway

Marian Call Sketchbook

My favourite art comes with imperfections. Sure, I enjoy things that are meticulous and perfectly ordered. Symmetry and things containing patterns are calming. But, when it comes to art, I prefer the type of order that is achieved through the flawed, the gritty, the imperfect, the messy, the vulnerable. Marian Call’s newest album Sketchbook is brimming with many such nuances, resulting in an album filled with heartfelt truths and an abundance of warmth. The result is splendid.

For me, reviewing music is difficult. Music speaks to me in ways other forms of art are incapable. A simple musical phrase can cause my insides to swell, bringing me to tears. The only other art form that can easily evoke an emotional response is dance.

Marian Call has amazing talent. Not only does she possess a ranging vocal ability, the music she creates comes from a place containing varied emotion, writing mutli-layered lyrics that not only entertain, but are bound to speak to a wide range of experiences. Every album Marian has released to date has contained at least one song that speaks to me on a level beyond rational understanding, reaching deep inside the dark corners of my heart that are seldom touched. Sketchbook deserves some extra bonuses in this area because of the story behind the creation of this album.

The songs were recorded outside of a studio, in the houses of people nice enough to give Marian a venue, and a home, during her crazy touring schedule. She recorded them while sick, while hurried, while tired. She recorded them with love, not only for her art, but out of love for the people who support her endeavours, and because the songs need live. Because someone out there might need them.


My favourite song from Sketchbook is “Hope.” Marian performed it during my wedding reception. Before that performance and since that performance, I have heard the song many times. It was one of those songs with which I instantly feel in love. Her live performances have always been something special. However, those live performances have nothing on the raw, vulnerable and unfeigned recording heard on this album.

There is a quality about Sketchbook which reminds me of Beethoven’s middle period; a period filled with transformative music, covering a range of naked emotion, which manages to reach various facets of one’s soul. Unlike Marian’s other albums, which are thematic in some ways, Sketchbook is filled with songs that are self-contained. Perhaps it is incorrect to say Sketchbook is without some sort of theme. The dark and vulnerable, yet hopefully, musical offerings; the emotion and thought behind this project, is thematic in and of itself.

Give Sketchbook a listen. The wonderful thing about selling music via Bandcamp is that potential customers can listen to an album, in its entirely, before making a purchase.

Because I love this album so much, because I want to give a piece of what Marian has given me, via her music, to you, I am going to purchase a copy of Sketchbook for three people.

So, how can you win one of three copies of Sketchbook?

  1. Leave a comment. That’s it. If you want to make your comment interesting, answer the following: Name one song that hits you in that hard to reach spot in your soul?
  2. Only one comment per person. Leaving multiple comments will disqualify you. When leaving a comment, please use a valid e-mail address so that I can notify you if you win.
  3. You have until Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 23:59 PST to leave a comment. At that time, I’ll use a random number generator to select three winners. Winners will be notified by e-mail on Wednesday, December 18, 2013. Winners will be announced in the comments of this post on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 before 16:00 PST.
  4. If you have any questions, please e-mail me.


Jules Sherred is the parent of two teenage boys, freelance writer, web designer, author of Five Little Zombies and Fred, General Manager and radio personality at The Look 24/7, owner of the largest Star Trek community on Google+, Geeky Pleasures creator, geek support for Parsec Award winning The Minister of Chance, and more. On the Geeky Pleasures Radio Show, Jules has interviewed Wil Wheaton, Jonathan Coulton, Phil Plait, Sylvester McCoy, Richard Hatch, Paul and Storm, R.A. Salvatore, John Kovalic, and so many more. Jules' writing can also be found on Hugo Award winning SF Signal, GeekMom, United Federation of, Nerdy With Children, Star Wars vs Star Trek. Slowly, Jules is working on another book titled Nerd Love. You can follow Jules on Twitter @GeekyJules. Also, JULES LOVES STAR TREK.

18 Responses to Marian Call’s New Album “Sketchbook” Is Splendid – Plus, Giveaway

  1. That’s a difficult question. There are so many difficult to reach places in a soul. I guess the one that hits the hardest to reach spot is actually one of Marian’s songs. Rx: stop what you’re doing, no other song can make me as happy and sad at the same time.

  2. It’s hard to pick just one song, since music also affects me very deeply and I’ve been fortunate enough to hear and be introduced to a very wide range of different artists and styles.

    Since this is about Marian Call, though, I’m going to narrow the parameters to focus simply on the song of hers that touches me the deepest: “Dark Dark Eyes” (the version off ‘Vanilla’, specifically, though all the versions are fantastic!).

    I was abused by my father growing up. Mostly emotionally and psychologically, though there was one instance of physical abuse (that I can remember, further instances might still be repressed) which caused my jaw to be partially dislocated and has left me with an underbite, and a form of sexual abuse (I was forced to sleep in the same bed with him from about age 6 to 11, despite there being other rooms and beds in the house).

    My mom had very little hand in raising me due to not being the custodial parent (not by her choice). She’s since more-or-less abandoned me on a couple occasions.

    I mention those facts because I’ve never really felt like I was loved unconditionally as a child, and this song feels like an expression of the love I lacked growing up.

    I don’t know the specifics of what inspired the lyrics. When I was lucky enough to host Marian Call at my house for a show last year, she said that it was inspired by her helping at-risk teens, but beyond that, I don’t know.

    What I do know, however, is that it helps me know that unconditional love and compassion do exist in the world, even if I never had any growing up. It doesn’t make me envious for those who’ve felt it, it just helps me feel a bit better about humanity.

    Also, it’s just a fantastic, beautiful song. There’s that, too.

  3. Love Marian’s music, and I love the way you are sharing her gift to you (What a great wedding reception that must have been!) with others. Thanks for doing this. More people need to discover her beautiful music.

  4. I love the song Anchorage.

    See me down, see me down to the edge of the wild
    Stroll me out to the end of the pier
    Reel me in to the places we knew our own faces
    Over wine, over coffee and beer

  5. Can’t really think of a song that really affects me, but the first time I heard Got to Fly I knew Marian Call was my people :-)

  6. This whole album is really good. I don’t know if I can pick just one song. The awesome thing about her music is that there is always a song that gets you no matter what mood you are in at the moment.

  7. Sounds great. I love contemporary “B-sides”-esk albums. They Might Be Giants does one every couple years and they come out more creative and less ‘produced’ sounding.

  8. It is so hard for me to pick just one song. I love music so much and so many different genres. Thank you for introducing me to an artist new to me. :) I look forward to looking up more of her work.

  9. One of my favourite go-to songs to karaoke: Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up” — It gives me shivers to sing the bridge “gotta walk outta here. I can’t take it anymore…”

  10. Congratulations to Totz, Eric, and Lori for winning the giveaway.

    You should have an email with download information in your inbox.

    If you don’t see it, please check your spam.

    Thanks, everyone, for participating!

Leave a reply

Hosting sponsored by Skookum Monkey. Visit Skookum Monkey to see how they can help you.