The Ballroom Thieves Share “Can’t Cheat Death” From ‘Paper Crown’ EP (out May 11); Phillip Phillips Tour Announced
March 9, 2018 BY Nettwerk
Darker times make for bolder and, sometimes, brighter art.
The Ballroom Thieves – Calin “Callie” Peters (vocals, cello), Martin Earley (guitar, vocals), and Devin Mauch (percussion, vocals) – mine immense melodies and hypnotic hooks from personal stories on their 2018 EP, Paper Crown (out May 11 via Nettwerk Records). Under the cover of vintage jazz-style, the five songs reflect feelings of rootlessness from four nomadic years, bouts of depression, and the ever-looming specter of political unrest hanging over the country.
Nevertheless, a noticeable glimmer of light always peeks through.
“Our lifestyle has shaped our perspective,” explains Martin. “We’ve toured so much that we haven’t been able to call anywhere home. A lot of the songwriting was done from this place of simply not having a home base. We were the perennial guests.”
That subtle balance has transformed The Ballroom Thieves into a quiet phenomenon. Following two EPs, the group released their full-length debut A Wolf in the Doorway in 2015. Between marathons of touring, 2016’s Deadeye would spawn a string of fan favorites. They claimed real estate on prime Spotify playlists (e.g. “Your Favorite Coffeehouse,” “Relax & Unwind,” “Morning Acoustic”) with “Bees” cracking 10 million streams on the platform. Along the way, they sold out shows and delivered standout performances at festivals such as Boston Calling and Newport Folk Festival, while landing features at NPR, Baeble Music, Boston Globe, Paste, Earmilk, and many others.
In late 2017, they commenced work on Paper Crown, collaborating with producer Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers, Brandi Carlile, Vance Joy) in Washington for the first time.
“Working with Ryan at Bear Creek was a completely new and unique experience,” affirms Devin. “He naturally pushed us through our vulnerabilities, challenging the band to grow and apply some of his more pop sensibilities to our traditional ‘Thieves sound.’ The rustic wooded environment at Bear Creek also had a serious impact on the band’s experience creating these songs as we found ourselves there at two very different times of year – once in the beautiful but smoky heat of August and again in February’s more frigid rain season. The result was a pretty stark contrast in the sounds, tones, textures, colors, and feel between each song, which in itself is a reflection of this band and our journey. “
The band introduced the EP with the haunting “Only Lonely.” It quickly generated over 3.9 million streams. Meanwhile, the single “Do Something” illuminates their evolution. Its smoky soul could very well have swooned right out of a Chicago jazz haunt and onto a California beach circa 1965. At the same time, it encases fiery rhetoric within those sweet sonics.
The Ballroom Thieves culled the EP title Paper Crown from a lyric in “Do Something.” Representing the ephemeral nature of consumerism, corporate greed, and reality TV, it’s symbolic of the fake coronation atop the country’s hierarchy. At the same time, it proposes an alternative charge for unity in the face of this misdirection.
Whether it’s the hard-hitting “Can’t Cheat Death” or the tearful, yet upbeat joy of “Almost Love,” they make pronounced creative strides together.
“To me, this EP is a transition,” Martin states. “It leads us towards the next project and stands as an evolution of our sound. Just like any band, we keep evolving and writing new songs that require creativity in production. I hope we take our older fans with us while making some new ones along the way.”
In the end, The Ballroom Thieves strain light through all the darkness.
+ With Phillip Phillips
Fri., 3/9 Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre +
Sat., 3/10 Fort Collins, CO @ The Lincoln +
Tues., 3/13 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot +
Wed., 3/14 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory +
Fri., 3/16 Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre +
Sat., 3/17 Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre +
Sun., 3/18 Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom +
Tues., 3/20 San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore +
Wed., 3/21 Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre +
Thurs., 3/22 Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up Tavern +
Fri., 3/23 Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up Tavern +
Wed., 3/28 Dallas, TX @ House Of Blues +
Thurs., 3/29 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall +
Sat., 3/31 El Dorado, AR @ Griffin Music Hall +
Mon., 4/2 Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s +
Tues., 4/3 Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue +
Thurs., 4/5 Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom +
Fri., 4/6 Chicago, IL @ House Of Blues +
Sat., 4/7 Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theatre +
Sun., 4/8 Toronto, ON @ The Opera House +
Tues., 4/10 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom +
Wed., 4/11 Louisville, KY @ Headliners +
Sat., 4/14 Chattanooga, TN @ Walker Theatre – Memorial Auditorium +