Skip to main content

Enjoy Magazine

The Ballroom Thieves to play at Vintage Wine Bar & Restaurant

10/26/2016 09:42AM ● By Ronda Alvey
By Phil Reser
Photo: Eric Jones

Meet Boston’s Ballroom Thieves, the musical trio of guitarist Martin Earley, drummer Devin Mauch, and cellist Calin Peters. 

Awarded Folk Artist and Americana Artist of the Year by the Boston Music Awards, the diversity of their growing repertoire has allowed them to perform an intimate listening room one night and entertain a large festival crowd the next.

After independently putting out two EPs, the trio released their debut album in 2015, “A Wolf in the Doorway," a 12-track record featuring their splendid vocal harmonies, creative acoustic instrumentation and intensely personal songs.

“I’m a big fan of the lyrical freedom folk music affords its songwriters, insofar that it covers a broad spectrum of writing styles. Our band can play a hard-hitting song in which the lyrics follow a distinct storyline, but we’re also able to follow that up with a much more abstract or introspective tune. Our instrumentation also naturally lends itself to folk music, even though our individual musical influences span across several different genres,” says songwriter, Earley. 

The Ballroom Thieves originally played as a duo when Earley and Mauch attended college together. Shortly after they started playing gigs, they found a cellist, but she left when touring became too large of a commitment for her. 

Then, one fateful night at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, they stumbled into Peters, a classically trained cellist who studied at Boston’s Berklee College. 

"One thing the cello does definitely is open up a lot of space," Earley points out. 

"With three people, we can do what some bands do with five people. The cello makes so many interesting things possible from a compositional point of view, it just has a certain quality of sound that you can’t get from any other instrument. Calin can cover a fourth harmony or third harmony and make our sound much thicker and deeper than it otherwise would be.” 

“For a trio, we make quite a bit of noise, and that's something the cello is heavily involved in. We’re a rock band in a folk suit. Our individual musical backgrounds and the influences that inevitably stem from them help us to bend the boundaries. Depending on which song of ours you happen to listen to, you can discover shades of rock, pop, hip-hop, and more, and that stylistic oscillation keeps our music interesting and fresh to a wide variety of audiences.” 

This year, The Ballroom Thieves collaborated on an eight date tour and produced a music video with 26 musicians of the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra, which is based out of Portland, Maine, and features musicians ages 12-18 years-old, who perform symphonic renditions of selections from rock and classical music repertoires.

"This was more than an alliance of two musical styles,” says cellist Peters.

“Classical musicians have long been trained to live in a rigid world, yet this younger generation of string players already understands the beauty in a lack of rules. Having come from a classical background myself, I never felt quite like I fit into, I think if an opportunity such as this youth orchestra had been available, I not only would wish I’d had an outlet like this orchestra, that more accurately catered to my learning style.  Programs like this keep kids learning instruments longer than they otherwise would.”

Despite their extensive touring schedule that finds them as likely to play to six people as they are to six hundred,The Ballroom Thieves’s willingness to push themselves into new territory makes them all the more creative, and all the more enjoyable.

“Folk music, being a timeless art form, 
was the foundation of the Byrds. 
We were all from a folk background. 
We considered ourselves folk singers 
even when we strapped on electric instruments 
and dabbled in different things.” 
- Roger McGuinn

The Ballroom Thieves
Sunday, November 6th, Vintage Wine Bar & Restaurant, Redding
Vintage Wine Bar & Restaurant