When I first heard Marah‘s music, I was surprised I had never heard of the band anywhere. But after spending some time with it, I’ve come to the conclusion that it was perfectly fitting. In fact, I could picture them as a traveling bar band in the days before big media, working the towns from saloon to saloon, performing their original material to the bone on the lonely road, and killing it, and getting some peripheral appreciation for it, but still mostly hearing the echos of the drunkards dancing, who just want them to play their particular roots take on the days’ greatest hits. They’re a red-headed stepchild, but worthy of whatever level of cult status they enjoy.
Part of the problem is that their popular/supported era of musical identification has passed them by. They more easily identify with forebearers like the Boss or Seger than anyone else; those who are woefully out of fashion by most indie-identifying music-heads, despite the best efforts of the Arcade Fires and Hold Steadys to make that kind of rootsy, personal-narrative-based music relevant again.
Yes, it’s certainly unfortunate that those who enjoy heartfelt, visceral rock like Marah’s do not control the radio stations or blogs of the nation’s corporate cultural elite, but don’t let their brand of eclectic brilliance pass you by without giving it a listen. I’ve never failed to be impressed on many levels with their songwriting, impeccable production, and ear for wrapping the past into the present with such easy looseness.