Listening to The Mallett Brothers Band is a musical experience unlike many others. Whether you’re hearing their soft, delicate hum through a record player, their wooded, adventurous bombast through headphones, or witnessing first-hand their inclusive, ritualistic ambiance live in concert, the music that originates from this friendly New England sixsome combines all the best aspects of folk, country, americana, and rock into a streamlined, welcoming collaboration.
Hailing from Maine and spending the majority of their time touring the vast forests and farms of the Northeast (when they’re not recording), the band has built enough of a following throughout the past half-decade to host a Facebook page with 14k likes and contract opening act gigs for the likes of The Turnpike Troubadours and even Lynyrd Skynyrd.
“Music just tends to draw such great people [that] together we typically have a wonderful time wherever we wind up. Home turf shows are great but we love it out west and down south; we’ve been in New York for the last few days in the city, in Albany and up in beautiful Saranac Lake and it’s been a blast.”
As rustic as the vinyl and 8-track collections they sell at their live show merch tables, the band admits to being influenced by a wide range of music and says that their albums tend to be ever-changing, mostly impacted by what they’re listening to at the time. From classic country to Motorhead and from Nirvana to bluegrass, their musical DNA is wide-ranging; when it comes to making their own music, Mallett attests that “mostly [it’s] rock and roll plus country, and turn it up.”
On their latest record, Vive l’acadie!, they transcend a handful of musical genres and make it feel as natural as the heartland rasp of lead singer Will Mallett’s voice. Commenting on the evolution of their records since the band’s formation almost a decade ago, Mallett believes that “it’s definitely always changing. We try to keep things interesting for us and I think the sound has changed across the albums based on things that we’re listening to at the time [and] what we’re excited about at a particular moment in time.”
Describing the new album as “pretty upbeat…[while] trying to stay positive in the turbulent times”, the band heavied up on tracks this time around that are noticeably supported by pacing percussive rhythms and reinforced by everything from a gliding fiddle melodies to groovy bass lines.
“Too Much Trouble”, the self-reflective slow-burner, takes a look into what seems like the current status of everything, both though the band’s perspective and possibly the world’s as a whole. “Losin’ Horses” details the tragedies and triumphs of streaks of bad luck but whether metaphorical or not, the lyrics are strongly supported by a pulsating electric guitar line that comes to define TMBB’s highway-driving signature sound.
And further, “Timberline (High Times)”, a significantly more positive number, conveys a forward-looking ideology, something to which everybody should relate nowadays. If you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up, grab a cup of coffee and meditate to this song and when that does the trick, listen to the rest of Vive l’acadie! for long-term comfort and happiness.
“We started with a pretty acoustic sound on the first record, and as we played more shows over the years we pulled in more of a rock and roll vibe, influenced by crowd energy and all that….But we’re just getting started thinking about the next album and we’ll see what direction it takes!”
Whether you’ve been a fan of The Mallett Brothers Band since their first record back in 2010 or you’re just tuning into their sweet sounds for the first time today, it’s clear that they are truly a pleasure to listen to. Fitting in as comfortably cruising down an interstate in the summer as bundled up at a log cabin’s fireplace in the winter, the band’s music integrates sights and sounds from every corner of America and creates an atmosphere where not only is everyone welcome, everyone is right at home.
To find out more about The Mallett Brothers Band, check out their website here, and find their Spotify/social media pages as well as their R&B NYC playlist below.
Plus, scroll down for the exclusive Rhythm & Boots NYC interview with lead singer Will Mallett talking about the new record, performing live, and each member’s rhythm and boots of choice!
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Backstage with The Mallett Brothers Band:
R&B NYC: With such a wide range of musical styles in your portfolio, it seems like there might always be room to expand upon the type of music you guys are creating. How do you feel the music has evolved since your first, self-titled record almost a decade ago, and what does the future hold for the band, musically?
TMBB: It’s definitely always changing. We try to keep things interesting for us and I think the sound has changed across the albums based on things that we’re listening to at the time, what we’re excited about at a particular moment in time and so on. We started with a pretty acoustic sound on the first record, and as we played more shows over the years we pulled in more of a rock and roll vibe, influenced by crowd energy and all that. But everybody has a pretty wide range of influences, from classic country to Motörhead to all the great new music coming out all the time. Andrew Martelle joining the band a couple years ago on fiddle created some cool possibilities, some of the new album has sort of an Acadian/Cajun vibe. But we’re just getting started thinking about the next album and we’ll see what direction it takes!
R&B NYC: I see that you guys have played on stages shared with the likes of Skynyrd and the Turnpike Troubadours, which are absolutely incredible accomplishments. Did you all grow up listening to music with stylistically-similar influences, and how do you guys shape each other both when writing music and when performing on stage?
TMBB: I think our sound is definitely a product of diverse influences, from singer songwriter stuff and folk music to punk and whatever. Wally and I both had the same first cd which was Jimi Hendrix Live at Winterland which is kinda cool. I think a lot of those different “genre” threads run through most of our experiences as Americans in the digital age, and even a lot of our mixtapes back in middle school would have had anything from Dylan to Nirvana to bluegrass to hip hop to whatever, and whether intentional or not I think all that stuff is just burned into our musical DNA. But mostly rock and roll plus country and turn it up.
R&B NYC: Looking at your online shop, I’m seeing a lot of vinyl, as well as denim patches and even 8-tracks; on that note, Rolling Stone just recently reported that vinyl sales in the past year have hit a 25-year high mark. What do you value in the simplicity of physical music, and what’s your take on the uptick of vinyl sales in recent years?
TMBB: I think it’s great. It sounds great, and it’s just fun to have a big old record to hold and look at. A lot of people listen to music on their phones these days anyway, but it’s a cool way to show support for a band on the road to pick up music in a physical form whether CD or vinyl. We did a short run of 8-tracks a while back just for kicks but I think we’ve almost sold out, so yeah you never know! A lot of rad people with kick ass cars still have 8-track players, ya know?
R&B NYC: Tell me a bit about Vive l’acadie! How would you describe the energy on the album, and are there any songs specifically that you think best represents the underlying attitude and message behind the record?
TMBB: It’s a pretty upbeat record overall, trying to stay positive in turbulent times and all that, and it’s the first album with Chuck on the kit and he’s just a joy to work with, and the first album of original material – our last one The Falling of the Pine was a concept album of old Maine folk songs – with Andrew in the mix, so they both brought some new energy. The title track is pretty indicative of the vibe I think.
R&B NYC: I’m looking forward to the show at DROM in NYC! Being from Maine, are there any other parts of the country or locations where you guys love to perform? Do you find it easy to write music on the road, or is your songwriting process reserved mostly for in between tours?
TMBB: Music just tends to draw such great people together we typically have a wonderful time wherever we wind up. Home turf shows are great but we love it out west and down south; we’ve been in New York for the last few days in the city, in Albany and up in beautiful Saranac Lake and it’s been a blast. Music usually gets written at home but once in a while we’ll have some down time on the road and that’s always a great time to write too, often soaking up some semi-conscious influences from the environment.
R&B NYC: Lastly, the signature R&B NYC question: Either as a group or individually, what are your preferred footwear and instrument of choice? Specifically, what do you need to be wearing on your feet when leaving the house and what instrument is most comfortable in your hands?
TMBB: Luke tends to rock black cowboy boots and his newest favorite guitar is an Ampeg Super-Stud from the 70’s, Wally rocks Pumas and plays everything but he says his favorite instrument is technically the mellotron; Chuck is a Chuck Taylor man and plays the same drum kit he got when he was 16, Pearls from the 80’s; Nick, Andrew and I all rock Katahdin Ironworks boots from LL Bean, Nick likes his sunburst P-bass, Andrew’s go-to fiddle is his great-grandfather’s 1917 Lewis C. Welch, and my primary guitar is a 2010 Martin D18-V.