The Ballroom Thieves fought through a year of tribulations with their sophomore album, 2016’s Deadeye, as their shield and sword. Only through continuing to write and perform together were guitarist Martin Earley, cellist Calin Peters, and drummer Devin Mauch able to fend off their darker days. While the skies may not be completely clear, the path ahead is — and the trio take their first steps forward today.
The next phase begins with their new single, “Only Lonely,” a track that harnesses the Thieves’ handsome harmonies and nimble, sturdy acoustic folk. Though disarmingly warm, the lyrics expose the terrible version of oneself that emerges when an unhealthy mental state gains control. “I think anyone who has struggled with depression, anxiety, or profound loneliness can identify with the idea that sadness is at once a passenger and a conductor,” says Earley, “and sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference.”
Just as the Thieves survive on the strength of their reliance on each other, however, the chorus of howls throughout the song remind the listener that we never battle alone. “Depression can be an isolating maze, but despite the reclusive heaviness of the words in the song we attempt to keep a team mentality when a band mate, partner, or friend is living in the darkness,” says Peters. “The band remains and gains strength after the touring years have taken their toll, sometimes howling as one, other times answering the cry of distress, but always relentlessly singing.”
That pack mentality pervades all aspects of the upcoming EP from which “Only Lonely” stems. It’s what pushed Peters to step into the writer’s role more than ever, a challenge she admits she may never have undertaken if not for the buoying of Early and Mauch.
” I feel powerful and proud of myself for trying something new, and also sort of protected and encouraged by the guys,” she proclaims. They’ve also rallied a brand new team for this latest outing, with producer Ryan Hadlock joining them for the first time and the support of a new label, Nettwerk Records. “They believed in what we were doing artistically and they weren’t going to try to affect that,” says Earley. “That’s a really incredible thing to hear from a label, especially one of that size and that reputation.”
More details on the EP are forthcoming, but their Nettwerk debut single makes one thing clear: The Ballroom Thieves are stronger together than ever, and they’re ready to confront both inner and outer demons with the assurance of a band that’s only begun to rise.
The Ballroom Thieves accompanied by Maine Youth Rock Orchestra Announce Tour Dates + EP
Formed in 2011, The Ballroom Thieves take the sincere, narrative blueprint of folk music and infuse it with the attitude of rock, the soul of blues, and the sweat and fervor of a revival tent. That spirit makes its way into both their recorded music as well as their live performances, as Martin Earley (guitar, vocals), Devin Mauch (percussion, vocals), and Calin Peters (cello, vocals) attack their instruments and harmonies with the same energy onstage as in the studio. Collaborating with Maine Youth Rock Orchestra for their upcoming tour, The Ballroom Thieves are breaking ground as the first national band to tour with a youth orchestra.
Garnering regional and national acclaim for their 2015 release ‘A Wolf in the Doorway,’ this powerful trio has performed across the country and at major festivals such as Newport Folk Festival and Boston Calling, sharing the stage with the likes of The Lone Bellow, Houndmouth and Dispatch.
In November 2014, The Ballroom Thieves collaborated with Maine Youth Rock Orchestra, a program provided by the Maine Academy of Modern Music, a 501(c)(3) rock school located in Portland, ME. MYRO, a 25-piece string orchestra comprised of students ages 12-18, accompanies professional artists for live shows, performing twice with The Ballroom Thieves and producing a music video for Converse® Rubber Tracks.
Maine Youth Rock Orchestra has worked with over 25 artists since it’s inception in December 2013, including Spose, Kishi Bashi, Darlingside, Shook Twins, and has become part of the Annual Beatles Night which Rolling Stone called “a mind-blowing tribute.”
The Ballroom Thieves will be accompanied by Maine Youth Rock Orchestra for a 8-date east coast tour in April, and will be performing together at select summer festival dates. The collaboration will also include a 2-song EP that will be released early 2016.
April 15 @ Port City Music Hall | Portland, ME
April 16 @ 3S Artspace | Portsmouth, NH
April 17 @ Higher Ground | Burlington, VT
April 19 @ Jammin Java | Vienna, VA
April 20 @ Ardmore Music Hall | Ardmore, PA
April 21 @ Knitting Factory | Brooklyn, NY
April 22 @ Columbus | Providence, RI
April 23 @ Shalin Liu Performance Center | Rockport, MA
June 3 @ Roots on the River | Bellows Falls, VT
June 2-5 @ Mountain Jam | Hunter Mountain, NY
The Ballroom Thieves – Calin “Callie” Peters (vocals, cello), Martin Earley (guitar, vocals), and Devin Mauch (percussion, vocals) – mine immense melodies and hypnotic hooks from personal stories on their 2018 EP, Paper Crown (Nettwerk Records). Under the cover of vintage jazz-style, the five songs reflect feelings of rootlessness from four nomadic years, bouts of depression, and the ever-looming specter of political unrest hanging over the country.
Nevertheless, a noticeable glimmer of light always peeks through.
THE BALLROOM THIEVES GO FULL POLITICAL AMERICANA WITH NEW SONG “TENEBRIST”
AMERICANA FEST + TOUR DATES WITH CAAMP
“There’s a Nietzsche quote about how artists muddy the water to make it seem deeper than it really is, and as harsh as that sounds, we think it applies directly to our current political situation. One of the challenges in writing this album was trying to maintain a sense of positivity and hope in such an increasingly negative socio -political climate, especially since we’ve had trouble writing ‘happy’ songs in general. This song asks the listener to see the reality we’re currently facing while remembering that good things tend to emerge out of the worst circumstances.”
– The Ballroom Thieves
The Ballroom Thieves – made up of lead singer and guitarist Martin Earley, cellist Calin Peters and percussionist Devin Mauch – offer the first peek into their socially – and politically-driven collection of songs that will be released in 2020 (details TBA, album out via Nettwerk Records). The Thieves work a special concoction of powerful and harmonious music by combining blues, folk, and rock and roll, while never shying away from topics and ideas they are passionate about.
“We write about the things that are important to us and right now, it’s impossible to ignore the inadequate state of the world,” says Earley. “We just wrote the songs that came out of us and they happened to be largely political.” He continues, “In an ideal world, we would never write a political record—there’d be nothing extreme enough to warrant it.”
Peters recently spoke with DittyTV about the new song saying: “The only hope and positivity found in this song is the upbeat music that supports important statements from a white man’s perspective such as ‘I am the color of forgiveness, I am the shape of what is wrong.’ Tenebrism refers to a painting technique using chiaroscuro, where dark and light are in extreme contrast with one another. While the illuminated part of the painting is clearly the subject, it’s the darkness that becomes the overwhelming focus of the entire picture. Today in this country, knowing what we know, and having the money and power we have, we are all ‘tenebrists’. We muddy the water to make it seem less shallow when we actually need to look at our current state for what it really is and make the changes we so desperately need to make.”
The Ballroom Thieves will perform at the prestigious Americana Music Festival in Nashville on Thursday, Sept 12 at Exit/In at 9 pm and again on Saturday, Sept 14 at Little Harpeth Brewing for the Berklee Party (exact set time TBA). The Thieves will head to the West Coast this fall for several tour dates with Caamp.
All up to date news and tour information can be found at ballroomthieves.com
8.31 || Killington, VT || Cooler in the Mountains Concert Series
9.05 || Concord, NH || Bank of New Hampshire Stage
9.12 || Nashville, TN || Americana Conference at EXIT/IN
9.14 || Nashville, TN || Americana Conference at Little Harpeth Brewing
10.12 || Marshfield, MA || Levitate’s Flannel Jam ^
10.13 || Portland, ME || Levitate’s Flannel Jam ^
10.14 || Nantucket, MA || Levitate’s Flannel Jam ^
10.15 || Phoenix, AZ || Crescent Ballroom *
10.16 || Los Angeles, CA || The Fonda *
10.18 || Santa Ana, CA || The Observatory *
10.19 || Solana Beach, CA || Belly Up Tavern *
10.21 || San Francisco, CA || The Fillmore *
10.23 || Portland, OR || Wonder Ballroom *
10.24 || Seattle, WA || The Showbox *
^ w/ Trampled By Turtles, Liz Cooper & The Stampede
* w/ Caamp
About The Ballroom Thieves:
In this increasingly virtual world of ours, what makes music authentic? For some, songs are no more than tiny sentimental decompressions. But others treat music as an extension of their roots, a mirror of their travels and relationships, and a testament to both their craft and passion.
Stylistically, the band finds a captivating mélange of acoustic styles, blending folk conventions with modern hymnals, delta blues grit with rich harmonies, exploring the basic constructions of pop music while almost wholeheartedly rejecting its restrictions at the same time.
Perhaps it is a blessing, but the band has a certain awareness and interest in all of its surroundings that equates to a form of musical intelligence. See them live and this becomes tremendously clear. They are a product of their community. They wager it all with every song and every performance. They study those with whom they share the stage. They feed off of the spirit of their audience. They grow from each other.
For The Ballroom Thieves, this family tree has only just begun to bloom, but its roots give the trio a strong and solid structure from which to continue to build.
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