NEAF ’13 Feature Artist: Will Mallett of The Mallett Brothers Band

The Mallett Brothers Band are a roots act on the rise. Playing bigger and better shows week after week, but still the type of gents who will come out after a show and raise a pint with you. Those are my kind of musicians. They have a fiery fierceness to their roots based music. A bunch of badass dudes making some badass tunes. Check out what Will Mallett has to say about the band and their involvement in this years Americana Festival.

1)      First and foremost, who are you, what do you do? That is, what band are you in or are you a solo artist, what have you guys been up to leading up to the festival, anything exciting we should all know about? Your chance for shameless self promotion…go!
My name’s Will Mallett, I’m in a band with five other guys called The Mallett Brothers Band. Two brothers, four other guys; we spend enough time in our van that we say we’ve all turned into van brothers at this point. We got started about four years ago and we’ve been hitting the road very very hard for the past two years or so. The response keeps getting better so we keep truckin’; we’re gearing up for a pretty lengthy fall tour in October/November that will bring us out to Colorado, down through Texas, back up through Tennessee where we’ll do some recording, and we have a boat load of gigs along the way. It’s been a great summer so far, we opened up for the Allman Brothers Band and Toby Keith just in the past few weeks, so we’ve been staying busy, having fun, and we’re very excited to be a part of the New England Americana Festival. We also have a new record we put out last spring called “Land” that’s been moving pretty good and people seem to be digging.

2)      New England Americana and the Fest firmly plant their roots and morals in “community”. The event is a culmination of a community of musicians and artists that is going on all year. What does that community mean to you?
Being a working musician can be a lonely endeavor at times, and there’s something like a kinship that exists between bands, or it seems that way to me anyway. There are also a ton of bands that deserve to be heard, as a touring band we’re fortunate enough to meet and play gigs with a lot of them. It’s great. Swapping gigs, bringing bands to places they may have trouble getting a gig, in turn being helped out by other musicians in other areas, and just giving each other a little love on the old world wide web are really critical these days for all of us. Events like the New England Americana Fest that help foster this “we’re all in this together” attitude are a real treat and help us all on our mission.

3)      Name a record that shaped you as a musician early on. What music initially made you want to sing, or pick up an instrument and make music?
Luke and I’s father, David Mallett, is a pretty well known singer/songwriter in some circles and is most definitely the primary inspiration for the two of us getting into music. There was a guitar or two on every couch we ever owned at all times. It drove our mom nuts but it’s a good way to live. She’s the best, by the way, and a very musical person who’s always been supportive of everything other than guitars on her couch when she’s trying to watch the news. Great people.
Other than that a lot of our sound comes from the diversity of influences within the band. Our drummer was a strictly punk/metal drummer before he jumped on board with us; Nate and Wally on guitar have a crazy range of influences but there’s a lot of Neil Young and Pink Floyd influence in their playing. So we’re sort of a melting of all this stuff and a lot more. Older country, bluegrass and anything grimy or funky are all listened to pretty regularly in the van.
4)      What are you listening to now that you think folks should be aware of?
I’ll have to keep this to a minimum, but Eastbound Jesus, Eric Bettencourt, Joe Fletcher, Jake Hill & Deep Creek, Rustic Overtones, Paranoid Social Club, Old Soul, Chris Ross, North of Nashville, Anna Lombard and Trent Gay, Blind Owl Band, The Wheals, Coyote Kolb are all acts from this part of the world that we’ve been fortunate enough to share bills with and that are all world class. There are a ton more, so sorry to everyone I left out there… Other than that, the old masters. Guy Clark’s new album is great. Ray Wylie Hubbard, Billy Joe Shaver, Steve Earle, Waylon. A dude from Canada named Corb Lund is making some great music right now so check him out too. Be sure to pick up all my dad’s records too because they’re all killer and I’m not biased.
5)      Music  festivals, in general,  are fairly well known for surprise sit ins, improvisational jams and collaborations. If you could see any two of this year’s acts collaborate on stage at this year’s NEA Festival, who would you like to see?
Sarah Blacker and Coyote Kolb. Boom, do it guys!
6)      Why is creating music important to you? Why do you pick up your instrument and write songs? Why do you play that dive bar on a Thursday night? What keeps you going?
Music gives meaning to nothingness and philosophy is too much work.

Mallett Brothers Band is playing the Fest at 10:20 at Tommy Doyle’s on Friday the 27th and the band is online at: http://mallettbrothersband.com/index/ 


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