Brewing success in the modern music circuit is one of the more challenging endeavors faced by young musicians who seek to bring their music to the masses. However, success is feasible through constant touring and innovative songwriting, which brought Martin Earley, Devin Mauch and Calin Peters of The Ballroom Thieves out of the urban streets of Boston, and into the warmth of stages across the nation.
The Ballroom Thieves, a folk trio established in 2011, offer an eclectic mix to a tired formula of folk-rock, which places emphasis on meticulous harmonies and songwriting rooted in the passion and turmoil that surrounds the road of life, crafting a hymn-like framework. After four years of touring and songwriting, The Ballroom Thieves released their first album in 2015, “A Wolf in the Doorway” to the unsuspecting masses.
“Our first record is a collection of tunes we had been working on for a long time, and as a result we were able to spend a lot of time rehearsing and really figuring out how we wanted it to come across” said Earley, who delved into the methodical approach behind the record.
2015 acted as a diving board for the group, who toured heavily behind the record and were featured at festivals including Boston Calling and Newport Folk Festival. This constant touring, however, took a toll on the trio as they attempted to balance both relationships and the quality of their musicianship.
“Spending every minute of every day in a small space with two other people is a trying way of life, no matter how much you enjoy your job,” said Earley. “We still run into difficult situations, especially when our tours approach the back end of what is a sane amount of time to be floating around the country without a consistent home, but we’re learning how to deal with most of them.”
Understanding the role that the road had on the group, The Ballroom Thieves utilized this inspiration to craft 2016’s “Deadeye,” a personal testament to the growth of the folk trio and lessons learned from the grueling months in a van. Recorded between producer Dan Cardinal’s Dimension Sound Studios in Boston, the Great North Sound Society in Maine, and Peter’s parents’ home in Rhode Island, the trio found a break in monotony between their travels and found time to reflect on the dark tones of a seemingly-endless rainbow.
“We challenged ourselves to write while traveling and, despite initial struggles, the payoff has been very rewarding,” said Earley. “The different locations kept us from getting bogged down by what can sometimes be a monotonous process [and] allowed us to shift our scenery multiple times.”
“I think it added quite a bit to the mood of the record,” added Earley.
The result is an emotionally insightful collection of tunes that showcase a distinct maturity amongst three adept musicians. “Mercy” highlights this rawness best and drips in the substantive ideologies learned from the road with its progressively emphatic rhythmic components and aggravated melodies. Also noteworthy are “Bees,” a reflective composition that takes instrumental nods from The Avett Brothers, and “Storms,” which displays the beauty of love behind the darkness of life.
Though the thematic material finds its origin in this darkness, there are fond and light memories of their hometown of Boston. “We’re incredibly proud to be from Boston, and we definitely bring a little piece of the city with us wherever we go. We mention Boston frequently, we support fellow Boston bands like Darlingside, Tall Heights, the Novel Ideas, Michael Christmas, and many more, and we fondly speak of starting out at the Lizard Lounge open mic in Cambridge,” said Earley.
“Also, we try to frequently flick people the bird on the highway, just to try to stay true to our ‘Massholian’ roots,” added Earley.
As for 2017, The Ballroom Thieves look to tour more behind “Deadeye” as well as hit the summer music festival circuit with numerous New England tour dates sprinkled throughout, including two nights at The Sinclair in Cambridge, Mass. in February as well as two nights in Maine at the Port City Music Hall and Camden Opera House.
“You can find us at any place that appreciates good music and focuses on community, kindness, and good times,” said Earley.
The Ballroom Thieves will play at the Warehouse in downtown Fairfield on Friday, January 20 at 8 p.m.