While the Sing a Song of Saffron contest was going on, I didn't link to the entrants' web pages so you guys wouldn't be biased one way or another. But hey, contest is over! There are some great CDs out there, so let's check 'em out. First up: Marian Call's Vanilla.
Marian won the contest with "It Was Good For You Too" with unanimous praise from the judges, and with damn good reason. She has the voice of an angel: pure, clear, strong, and capable of wiping out a city. Talent, great song-writing ability, and a sense of humor: Marian Call is the anti-Britney.
There's a strong Firefly feel here. "Dark Dark Eyes" is about River, the stray "gorram" pops up, and these songs have a goal we identify with: there's a strong female character here. A lot of them, really. There's the one who's afraid she doesn't love enough, and the one that surrenders her heart completely. There's the one who rather wistfully wishes she was sexy and the one who delivers a verbal smackdown to a phony. My favorite songs are "Vanilla (I'm Not Sexy)" which describes my wife's self-image perfectly, and "Flying Feels Like" which should be riding the Top 40 if Billboard had any taste left. And you will be unable to not sing along with her cover of Joni Mitchell's "Chelsea Morning." Just give in, you'll get a headache trying to hold out. Head to her MySpace page for some samples, and more will be available at her web page soon.
(A quick description for Buffy fans: if she had been doing this 10 years ago, Marian would have been on stage at the Bronz, with the kind of lyrical songs that would have continued to play even as focus moved to Buffy and friends wrestling with personal issues. Also, she rocks.)
"Vanilla" comes in two editions. The limited First Run edition includes her winning Saffron song. There aren't many left, so if you order a CD make sure you e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know you want that one. But don't miss out, get these quick before she gets a Grammy and you have to hunt it down on eBay.
Sounds of the Verse from The Persephone Pickers fills the desperate need I saw on countless Browncoat forums over the last five years. Namely, variations of "Where can I find music like on Firefly?" Greg Edmonson being unavailable for parties — as far as I know — folks were zipping through bluegrass collections trying to find the right mix of string instruments that was so damn evocative while we were watching Serenity soar. We needed them for the car, for our shindigs, to be a soundtrack to our role-playing games. There were a few here and there, but aside from maybe the theme song to "Deadwood" nothing really came close enough. Till now.
Officially this would be considered "Folk/Americana" but we know these 17 tracks for what they are: Firefly music. Inspired by the different people and locations in the 'verse, when those guitars and violins start I get tingly. You got jaunty, sad, Celtic, Western, ballad. Some songs express a feeling, like the haunting sorrow of "Serenity Valley." Some describe a person, like "Kaylee's Theme." Some set the tone for a place, like "Mudders Milk" and "Trading Post." Some tell a definite story, like "Just Floating." And some are just damn fun, like… most of the rest of 'em. Warning: if you play this in the car, turn it down, otherwise "See You in the World" will cause problems unless you can explain to the policeman that you weren't speeding, you were attempting re-entry.
More music on the way, but this'll get you started in style.