The Ballroom Thieves

June 23, 2017

9:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Location:

Rusty Rail Brewing Company
5 N. Eighth Street
Mifflinburg, PA 17844

$15 in advance, $20 at the door

Purchase Tickets

 

Life on the road is easily glamorized: the joy of playing shows, the wonder of new
places, the stories. Yet the lifestyle is also a trying one: the suffocating isolation, the
misery of being separated from loved ones, the unspoken tensions. If unprepared, this
life can become your downfall. For Boston’s The Ballroom Thieves, it became their
sophomore album, Deadeye.

The harmony-rich folk on the Thieves' debut, A Wolf in the Doorway, led to guitarist
Martin Earley, cellist Calin Peters, and drummer Devin Mauch spending the last two
years in a sustained state of touring, taking stages across the country, including
venerable ones like at the Newport Folk Festival. Though they were prepared for the
sudden lack of a sedentary existence -- even packing their apartments into storage units
-- it wasn't long before nearly nonstop touring began to take its toll.

As the stability of home faded along the relentless road, fresh anxieties came into focus:
depression, financial burdens, illness, crumbling relationships. Instead of addressing
these troubles, the Thieves doubled down on the band, and the edges began to fray. "I
think if you give everything to something for long enough, you have nothing left for you,"
Peters says, "and then you break down." Resentment and stress built up; the only thing
that would provide temporary reprieve was taking the stage to perform the music they
so dearly love.

That need to play through the pain led to the band crafting new songs, ones written in
the midst of all their bitter feelings. What couldn't be spoken between the bandmates
was put down into fresh material that transmuted the drama of the past few months into
a weightier, expanded sound. All that pent up negative energy was unleashed as the
fiercest music the band has ever recorded.

It's evident in the beaten dirge of "For Mercy" and the thick grunge of "Pocket of Gold",
tracks bristling with both regret and resolve. Peters' voice sears with confident fire on
the venomous "Blood Run Red", as does Earley's on the bluesy romance of "Anybody
Else". "Noble Rot" kicks like a tethered mule, as if the instruments are expressing every
heated thought that had ever crossed the musicians' minds.
These are the songs The Ballroom Thieves needed to write. Although they're not proud
of how they've handled these issues, they're immensely proud of the music that has
come as a result. Rough times have helped them explore the darker corners of their
sound -- which is why they've chosen to forgo the standard label rel ease cycle to put
out Deadeye on October 21st by themselves. Sharing it now is exposure therapy, letting
their fans pay witness to these hardships and the resulting creative growth while
simultaneously helping the band move on. The struggle is still very real, but these songs
are a reminder that for this band, the only course is forward.
Deadeye captures the band at a time when they were at their absolute lowest, but it
may also prove to be the album that saves The Ballroom Thieves.
-Ben Kaye

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