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The Mallett Brothers Band pivot to the studio after tour delay

January 26, 2022
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The Mallett Brothers Band pivot to the studio after tour delay (Photo by Dennis Welsh)

The Mallett Brothers Band recently released one of their best albums to date with “Gold Light” and if not for rising Covid numbers, they’d be out on the road now bringing their singular roots rock/Americana/country blend to fans from Sunday River to Richmond, Virginia.

The six-piece band decided to play it smart by postponing January dates, and some out of state dates in February. Some close-to-home February shows are still on, according to the official Mallett Brothers Band social media postings. Fans are encouraged to consult the band’s website: www.MallettBrothersBand.com for up to date information and ticket availability. The band addressed the schedule changes in a mid-January update, writing: “We are very sad to make this decision but we’re certain that we will be able to make this up in the near future when numbers improve and the road is less treacherous for us and our fans.”

New dates for the pair of shows scheduled for Bangor Arts Exchange on January 28 and January 29 will be announced as soon as possible. 

Will Mallett says the last thing the band wanted to do was to postpone or cancel shows but says the health of the fans and the band comes first.

“We could have gone ahead with the shows, but the reality is we could be halfway across the country, and if one of us tests positive, we’d have to scrap everything or quarantine,” Mallett said, adding “We hope to be back in the full swing of things in March, assuming that things look OK.”

After discussing every possible alternative with their management and booking agency, Will Mallett says The Mallett Brothers Band has decided to make the most of their situation by pivoting to the studio.

“We had a similar conversation to the one we had two summers ago,” he said. “We have a lot of free time now so let’s get back to the studio and try to make some cool sounds.”

The band’s seventh studio LP “Gold Light” was created with that mindset, and it’s the sound of a rock and roll band at the top of their game.

From the opening anthem “Livin’ on Rock and Roll,” to the driving optimism of the title track, to the grateful message in “Accidental Alchemy,” “Gold Light” packs a lot of cool sounds with substantive lyrics that work on multiple levels.

Will Mallett remembers sitting with his guitar in April 2020 when a text arrived from his brother Luke. He’d just written the lyrics to “Livin’ on Rock and Roll” and sent them to his brother and father asking if either would like to take a crack a chord progression and melody.

“I jumped right on it,” Will said, adding “It’s kind of autobiographical for sure. I like that it’s not over celebratory, that it captures some of the challenges of, quote, living on rock and roll, the dichotomy of the good times and the tough times. I don’t want to speak for Luke but it’s kind of about us and other bands, but I think it’s also about everybody who works in the entertainment industry, including sound guys, bartenders, door guys and people behind the scenes. The song is a celebration of all of those characters.”

The title song on “Gold Light” was inspired by a painting Will Mallett found in a closet.

“Luke’s and my grandmother, Pauline Mallett, was a prolific landscape painter,” Mallett said. “Our parents’ homes and the homes of our aunts and uncles are filled with her work. I found this painting that I guess had been discarded where she used a different style. It seemed like the center of attention was a sunset scene and it became the inspiration for ‘Gold Light.’ After I wrote it, I came across a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that I think I’d read before because it was similar to some of the lyrics. I think the idea kind of subconsciously influenced the song which I wrote really fast then got in the zone and tried to let it flow.”

The Malletts struck gold on “Gold Light” and Will Mallett says like everything they do, it’s the sum of their influences. For the Malletts, that means rock and roll, a little country, a little folk, a little John Prine-like Americana and a lot of family.

The Mallett Brothers Band has become one of Maine’s best-known over the last dozen years. What if the band had formed in Nashville instead?

Brothers Luke and Will Mallett spent a good part of their youth in Nashville where their father, singer and songwriter David Mallett, relocated the family during the 1980s.

I asked Will Mallett the hypothetical question what if you had stayed in Nashville and formed The Mallett Brothers Band there? How different would the band have sounded?

“I think about that a lot,” Mallett said. “I think we might have started the band earlier, but I also think we would have sounded a lot different. Part of what we enjoy about the group of musicians that has become The Mallett Brothers Band (Luke and Will, Wally Wenzel, Nick Leen, Brian Higgins and Andrew Martelle), and part of what draws people to the sound is that it’s not exactly like the country music you hear on the radio. The band reflects the influences of our members and we wouldn’t sound the same otherwise.”

Fans can bide their time until the next batch of Mallett Brothers Shows by listening to one of two live albums released by the band. “Live at the State Theatre” was a guest-fueled 10th anniversary show recorded in Portland and released in November 2020.

“We had as many guests that night as we could possibly pull in,” Will Mallett said. When we played the State Theatre last month, it was kind of the opposite of that. We kept it lean and mean and did the six-piece rock show.

“Live in Portland Maine” (released in 2019) was recorded at Port City Music Hall on a frigid Maine winter evening. Will Mallett says it was a memorable night for many reasons.

“Port City Music Hall was kind of our go-to hometown venue for a long time, so it was great to capture a show there. It was about 15 below zero that night and somehow the smoke alarm went off in the green room (laughs) and they had to evacuate everybody.”

The Mallett Brothers Band appears to be living their dream. They live their music and do what they want when they want, and prove that it’s still possible to live by art.

“We try to stay grateful for the opportunity we’ve had to do this,” Will Mallett said. “We started with a modest goal of getting a couple of gigs and we’re at the point where we’re doing it full time and we’re eternally grateful for that.”

Last modified on Friday, 28 January 2022 10:08

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