Marah: Presents Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania

Marah_PresentsMountainMinstrelsyGhosts from the backwoods and lumber camps of Pennsylvania

David Bielanko and Christine Smith, of the rock band Marah, have put together an album that is as folky as folk can be. Starting with an obscure compendium of songs gathered from turn of the twentieth century Pennsylvania backwoods, lumber camps and hunting cabins, Bielanko and Smith have brushed up the material, written new melodies and recorded with a band organized from local talent. The invitation to perform drew in not just a core set of players (who brought along their banjo, guitar, harmonica), but an eight-year-old fiddler and the townspeople of Millheim, PA (pop. 900). In addition to the odd tuba or bagpipe, you can hear a hundred of the assembled citizens and a local barbershop quartet singing “Ten Cents at the Gate.” The record was recorded live to tape, returning these songs not just to listeners’ ears, but to the shared joy of music-making. The assembled band not only brings the songs back to life, but also the people, places, half-truths and flat-out myths recorded within them. [©2014 Hyperbolium]

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