I love that a record like this exists. Also, I love that this record exists. Big artists need to move units, people and company have invested in them and there is a demand on their creates. Touring bands make records to sell at shows, they make records to help them get shows. Most touring bands survive because people are willing to buy beer and listen. Then there are bands like Marah that have gone the route of a touring band, succeeded and decided to keep going. There is no pressure on Marah, no record label counting on a new record and needing that record to sell. There is freedom in a band Marah’s size. They have an audience but kept themselves free to do as they like. That freedom is how Mountain Minstrelsy has come to exist.
I lost track of Marah for several years and in researching Mountain Minstrelsy I learned that the Bielanko brothers were no longer making music together but David and his partner Christine had continued on. Mountain Minstrelsy is not a rock record and the story of it is worth a full read. The basics are that David and Christine found a song book in rural Pennsylvania that was filled with collected song lyrics and fragments. They set out to recreate or re-imagine the songs. This version of Marah includes an 8-year old fiddle player that is something else.
Instead of grasping at accurate and original renditions Marah “collaborated with ghosts” to make this record. Each song is rough around the edges, easily singable and glorious. Mountain Minstrelsy is adventuresome and old-timey. It is imperfect and perfect. It sounds nothing like Marah and everything like Marah. I firmly believe that if you like the sound of the songs below you will enjoy the entirety of this record.
Also, I suggest you read what David Bielanko says about Mountain Minstrelsy because he describes it better than I ever could. Read Here.