Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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I Defy You NOT To Fall In Love

I've made no secret of it to my family, or at work, really, that at some point I want to move to Pennsylvania and live near Serge's brother Dave. Grammy and Gramps are there too. After the drunk, dysfunctional, wonderful madness that was living in New York City and the subsequent 2007 Exodus From Brooklyn, the two remaining Marah members, Dave and Christine, settled in a lush area of Amish country known as Sugar Valley. To visit is to roll back the clock to the late 1800's where dairy farms were the norm and power lines were not. It suits them beautifully. They make unbelievable music and own goats. Need I say more?

In stark contrast, we settled into proper working gigs here in Salt Lake City. You know, bill paying, buying IKEA shit, throwing out IKEA shit when it broke and buying more shit to replace it. At least we've reached a point now where we ain't replacing. Our bookshelves folded like a house of cards, now disintegrating into dust in the garage. We have stacks and stacks of books waist high, just waiting to see what we're going to do with them. And that's after selling a bunch at a yard sale and dropping off a ton more at the thrift store.

But yeah, I'm getting off track.

I haven't written much lately about my brother-in-law Dave. Serge's brother. His best friend, his band mate. Dave's a tough bastard, sometimes. Tough bastard in that way genius-types with one track minds tend to be. Like an old turntable, Dave's mind only revolves music. Mostly, I like that. We conflict sometimes, when some sentimental girly-girl notion buried deep inside rears its silly head and then I am hellbent on seeking some kind of meaningful interaction with him. The kind of interaction that has him frantically searching for the nearest exit and pawing his pocket for smokes. But he's a good guy. And I've never seen anyone work so hard at something. He's a prisoner of his passion for music. It will never stop clawing at his innards and, selfishly, I hope it never does because I love his music so fucking much. I can honestly say if it weren't for Dave and Serge's music I don't know that I'd have fallen in love with Serge like I did. The music spurred it on, a backdrop to love, the soundtrack to the movie that was me meeting my future husband, the father of my child.

When will I get back to Pennsylvania? Who knows? I can tell you this; I don't want Violet to attend school in Utah. Just because. In fact, I'm considering home-schooling for the first few years. Yes, really. The dream is there, shimmering seductively, a few years from now. Big, old farm house. Rural Pennsylvania. Raising up Violet around passionate, creative, troubled, musical folks like Dave and his Christine. And two goats called Fury and Mud.

Listen, Serge's band Marah (former band, whatever, I have a hard time believing he'll never play with Dave again) has a new song out. It's awesome. You can get yourself a free download by checking out the widget there to the lower left of the blog. And also, if you want to know why these goddamned rock boys routinely having me tearing out my hair and then my heart, watch this (very short) documentary about Marah I just found. Not sure how I missed it but, here you go. I defy you to watch this and NOT fall in love with these two scrappy, Bielanko boys with poet souls

Yes David, it made me cry. I lasted until the photo at 5:14, though. More than five minutes in! Still, you best grab your smokes and head for the porch.

Reader Comments (10)

Ahhhhhhhhhhh. I teared up a little.
I know that makes me crazy.

October 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle

Sometimes it's the journey, not the top of the mountain that matters most...

October 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercoskibum

I love you, I love your husband and now I love his brother. That is all.

October 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCindi

Is there a Marah CD or song you'd most suggest for a newbie? I really like what I've heard so far.

October 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

so interesting and cool to watch. sound sort of reminds me of bruce springsteen, but i could be wrong.

i can tell that mainstream media has invaded my psyche because the thought of "bruce springsteen sound with Shirley Manson's aesthetic seems a bit peculiar" actually occured to me.
but, in truth, who the hell cares about image!?

Talent should be enough. there are many musicians with fame and fortune today who don't have the type of talent that your husband and brother-in-law have. sucks..

and i know that your brother in law probably doesn't have dollar signs in his eyeballs and maybe doesn't even give a shit, but i tend to think that it would be nice to be handsomly rewarded for special talents.. particularly when a lot of cheeseball bands are doing that very thing.

October 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterleyla

Central PA really is an oasis. A time warp, wormhole oasis - but what the hell, it kicks ass there! A tip? Middleswarth's BBQ chips. Nothing like them ANYWHERE!

I think I'm too far west and too far south to enjoy anything but the autumn. We're regulars at a Mennonite run market, but none of the Amish lovin' here. Just rampant bigotry. Hawt.

Something really different about PA from Idaho and Utah? No mormons! I've only seen one pair of Mormonaries in my entire three year career here.


October 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJill Smyth

@ Sarah. The good news is that if you like what you heard of Marah in the documentary there is lots to collect. Kids in Philadelphia is often thought to be one of their best album and is from the early part of their recording career. Angles of Destruction was their last album and is very good. As for key songs - depends on who you ask. I particularly like:

Walt Whitman Bridge
Formular, Cola, Dollar Draft,
City of Dreams
Round Eye Blues
Barstool Boys
Blue but cool
Freedom Park.

But hell, I like pretty much all their stuff so dip in your toe and you won't regret it.

Oh yeah - they also recorded the best Christmas album ever.

October 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKeith

I suggest starting at the first album (my favorite) and working your way forward. Here's a link to their discography. You won't be disappointed!

October 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Girl Who...

Thank you for sharing that.

It's been really weird for me to see them without Serge - and I truly did have some of the best nights of my life at those shows.

October 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEDW

In 1998 or so Marah played a huge part in changing my life. Their live shows all over Philly (Tin Angel, Pontiac, Khyber, etc.) were as passionate, alive and forceful as Springsteen in the mid-70s. I was going through some pretty rough personal years and the music of Marah helped not only to ground me, but most importantly, to give me hope. They made me feel alive when almost nothing else could.

Please tell Serge and Dave hello. I miss you guys.

(formerly of New York, now San Francisco)

October 31, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChris Campbell

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