Vinyl Giveaway: Marah Presents Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania

Juli Thanki | February 19th, 2014

MMAlbumCoverFinalPhiladelphia band Marah is best known for their blistering roots rock; but with their new album, Marah Presents Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania, which comes out next week, the band has stepped back in time to a world of long lost folk songs.

Shortly after Marah’s David Bielanko and Christine Smith relocated from Brooklyn to rural Pennsylvania, they found a copy of Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania, an obscure, century-old collection of song lyrics that folklorist Henry Shoemaker compiled in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Inspired, Bielanko and Smith wrote new original music, reworked a few lyrics, and enlisted eight-year old fiddle prodigy Gus Tritsch to play on the album, which they recorded to tape at an old church in Millheim, Pennsylvania.

We’ve got a vinyl copy of Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania (which comes with both a CD insert and digital download code) to give to one Engine 145 reader. To enter the contest, leave a comment below mentioning your favorite song about Pennsylvania before 12 p.m. Eastern on Monday, February 24. A winner will be notified by email, so be sure to use a valid address.

  1. Cody White
    February 19, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Can songs about PA people count? Because I love every version of “Philadelphia Lawyer” I ever hear!

  2. Kristian Keuer
    February 19, 2014 at 10:24 am

    I love “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”. Even Bruce’s Outtakes are incredible.

  3. Barry Mazor
    February 19, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Do the Dovell’s “Bristol Stomp” and the Orlons’ “South Street” count?
    Well, anyway, I’m not voting.

  4. Juli Thanki
    February 19, 2014 at 10:28 am

    I’ve got to give some love to Jeannie Seely’s “Farm in Pennsyltucky.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=599bxyU30ug

  5. Chris Reilly
    February 19, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Frank Black – I’m Not Dead (I’m in Pittsburgh)

  6. carriesmith
    February 19, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Punk Rock Girl ~ Dead Milkmen !!

  7. Alex Fang
    February 19, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Augustines- Philadelphia
    hon mention- Marah- Freedom Park :)

  8. Jack Williams
    February 19, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Where the Bottles Break – John Gorka (about the gentrification of his neighborhood in Bethlehem, PA)

  9. Gordon Johnston
    February 19, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Streets of Philadelphia is hard to beat.

    But what about Marah’s very own East?

    “This evening the pigeons turned to bars of gold
    In the sun’s last light
    And across the river, Camden is a guilded kingdom
    on the verge of night
    And so poised here at the edge of the city
    I’m getting high on the sound
    Of the buzz of 95
    And the scent of something going down.

    CHORUS:
    East, baby, where the South Street floats into the sky.
    Tonight east is all I need to finally start to feel defined.”

  10. Bryan Cody
    February 19, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Punk Rock Girl – The Dead Milkmen

  11. Arlene
    February 19, 2014 at 10:58 am

    I was just listening to Irene Kelly’s new album, Pennsylvania Coal, which includes a song of the same name.

  12. Richard
    February 19, 2014 at 10:58 am

    “Pittsburgh” by Mando Saenz is a good one.

  13. Dave D.
    February 19, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Scrapple – Robbie Fulks

  14. Arlene
    February 19, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I meant to include this link to hear Irene Kelly’s song, “Pennsylvania Coal” from her recent appearance on Music City Roots:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cz-S698OLxs

    Also

  15. Jeremy Bierlein
    February 19, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Point Breeze!!!! Though East is a close 2nd.

  16. Kim Derr
    February 19, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Bootleg Miners. Van Wagner

  17. paul
    February 19, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Glenn Miller
    Pennsylvania 6-5000

  18. Michael K.
    February 19, 2014 at 11:52 am

    my favorite has to Marah’s Christian Street:

    Saint Paul’s is for soul salvage
    9th street for my fennel & leek
    $10. Is my lottery tickets and…
    I get a haircut from the vietnamese
    So come on

  19. Matt Perrine
    February 19, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Everclear’s “Pennsylvania is…”

  20. Fred
    February 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    not Billy Joel’s “Allentown”

    I’ll go with “The Red and The Blue”

  21. Brent
    February 19, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Frog Holler – “Pennsylvania”

  22. fasmackhead
    February 19, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Can’t really think of a more fitting song this year

    Perry Leopold – Cold In Philadelphia
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLn732t4qrE

  23. Ben Foster
    February 19, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    I’m going to go with “Philadelphia Lawyer,” assuming it’s been deemed eligible. :)

  24. CD
    February 19, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Walt Whitman Bridge.

  25. Drew Muscarella
    February 19, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Marah’s “Point Breeze ” – gotta go with the home team!

  26. luckyoldsun
    February 19, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    What about Del Reeves and his Philadelphia Fillies?

  27. Brad Rogers
    February 19, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    I can’t resist Frog Holler’s “Berks County Boy”

  28. Colleen Martell
    February 19, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    “Pennsylvania Polka”!!!

  29. James Boyd
    February 20, 2014 at 12:24 am

    while dave and christine have pushed many musical genres in penns valley with their merry group of musicians, this is by far my favorite album to date. as christine once said at an elk creek show, “I’m going on a trip.” this cd is exactly that, a journey into the heart of what pennsylvania really is. my personal favorite is, falling of the pines. the fiddle lines, banjo melodies and vocal harmonies transport you back to a simpler time in the lumber camps when music truly brought people together. a master piece of the mountains.

  30. Barry Mazor
    February 20, 2014 at 5:14 am

    Nobody’s brought up Tom T Hall’s “Trees in Philadelphia.”

    You know, they just don’t make enough songs about Altoona, Williamsport or Scranton,

  31. Barry Mazor
    February 20, 2014 at 5:28 am

    Oh, wait, Harry Chapin:

    “It was just after dark when the truck started down
    the hill that leads into Scranton Pennsylvania.
    Carrying thirty thousand pounds of bananas.”

  32. Paul W Dennis
    February 20, 2014 at 6:45 am

    I’m partial to Guy Mitchell’s “Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania”

    (There’s a pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
    And I walk up and down ‘neath the clock
    (By the pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
    But I ain’t got a thing left to hock

    She was peaches, she was honey, and she cost me all my money
    ’cause a whirl ’round the town was her dream (was her dream)
    Took her dancin’, took her dinin’ till her blue eyes were shinin’
    With the sights that they never had seen (never seen)

    If you should run into a golden-haired angel
    And ask her tonight for a date
    She’ll tell you somewhere there’s a rich millionaire
    Who is calling again about eight

    (There’s a pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
    And I’ve just gotta get five or ten (five or ten)
    (From the pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
    Gotta be with my angel again

  33. Bev Conrad
    February 20, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Harry Chapin, Bananas
    The live w/ many endings. Was my “lullaby” album to get my gals to sleep. (after their bed time story)

  34. Janice Brooks
    February 20, 2014 at 10:15 am

    You mean this has local connections to me? I did not read closely. (Been busy getting ready for a video with a few DJ’s). Millheim is on the east end of Centre County and the Ripkas and Grenables are my cousins on my grandmothers side. On my grandfathers side, his sister was once the housekeeper for the local doctor (1940s). I need to find rides to more shows at the Elk Creek cafe.

  35. Paul Pluta
    February 20, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    “Eight Days at Shade Gap” from around 1968. Based on an event from the previous summer.

  36. Aubrey Mooney
    February 20, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    “The Weight” by The Band. ( About Nazareth, PA)

  37. Kelly D.
    February 21, 2014 at 6:50 am

    I second the Mandolin Saenz Pittsburgh tune and the Boss’s Atlantic City for its classic opening Steel City mob violence line “they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night.”

  38. Janice Brooks
    February 21, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Bethlehem Steel Jack Blancherd Misty Morgan

  39. Ellen Erkess
    February 22, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Streets of Philadelphia + South Street

  40. Eric Stockhausen
    February 23, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Since Marah’s “Point Breeze” and Frog Holler’s “Pennsylvania” have already even mentioned, I’ll go with Frog Holler’s “On Winter Blues” from their album entitled “Haywire”.

    Perfect song for this time of year. Would fit perfectly on the Mountain Minstrelsy album as well. And I saw Darren of FH last night and the first thing he asked me was “how is the Marah album ?

  41. Marti
    February 24, 2014 at 10:56 am

    While I’m tempted to say John Linnell’s Pennsylvania State Song, it isn’t really *about* Pennsylvania.

    Does “My heart is the bums on the street” work?

  42. Cyndy
    February 24, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Although it may be a bit cliché, especially after seeing all that has been listed here, Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom,” is a favorite of mine. As a junior high kid who was living outside of the U.S. for a couple of years in the late 70’s, Elton John’s “Brown Dirt Cowboy” album, especially the Philadelphia Freedom cut, made me feel closer to home. When hearing it performed with a full live orchestra, I get chills. With that said, I’ve had the honor of witnessing the making of “Mountain Minstrelsy” and as a Millheim resident who loves the history and beautiful surroundings of Central Pennsylvania, I am convinced that many new favorites are now on the horizon from Marah.

  43. MIKE
    February 24, 2014 at 11:10 am

    EAST
    …..East, baby, where the South Street floats into the sky.
    Tonight east is all I need to finally start to feel defined.

    “Rain Delay,” AWESOME INTRO

  44. Guy Adams
    February 24, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Rain Delay-Marah because I go to alot of baseball games and sat through many rain delays,also has an intro by late Phillies announcer,Harry Kalas

  45. Guy Adams
    February 24, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Rain Delay-Marah because I go to alot of baseball games and have sat through many rain delays,also has an intro by late Phillies announcer,Harry Kalas

  46. ron adelberg
    February 24, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    East ny Marah

Tagged In This Article

Current Discussion

  • Ken Morton, Jr.: The inferiority complex of the CMA never ceases to amaze me.
  • Barry Mazor: Thanks for explaining that to me, Luckyol.
  • luckyoldsun: Barry, I think you're taking it a bit too seriously. CMT has to keep coming up with new lists to make. …
  • Barry Mazor: Thi is a world in which the "top 40 most influential country artists of all time" do not include, for …
  • luckyoldsun: I just noticed that Garth and King George are still to come. So unless I'm missing something else, the remaining seven …
  • Leeann Ward: I hate it when people pronounce the days of the week with a "dy" ending instead of "day." It's like …
  • luckyoldsun: Looking at that bizarre CMT Artists' list with Johnny Cash coming in at #8, it raises the question--Who are the …
  • Leeann Ward: I'd have to agree with LOS here. The song was fair game to be released. It's no surprised that it …
  • luckyoldsun: "'Brotherly Love,' IS a Keith Whitley song. Trying to take advantage of the impact sales, and the tragedy of Keith’s …
  • Leeann Ward: Yes, we know that it's technically a Keith Whitley song, as Juli noted above.

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • deadmanstown
  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton
  • sturgillsimpsonmetamodern