Artist: Ballroom Thieves
Album: A Wolf in the Doorway
Label: Blue Corn Music
Release Date: 04/21/2015
Identifying yourself as a folk group and living in that hub of traditional music, Boston, brings with it the high bar that’s been established by the generations of musicians who came before, so it takes a certain confidence to tout one’s talents in a place where history and tradition hold such sway. In that respect, credit the Ballroom Thieves for living up that legacy.
Following on the heels of two earlier EPs, the band’s put together an impressive debut album that takes its cues from some latter day populist heroes—the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons (natch) come quickly to mind—while still retaining enough of an individual identity to ensure the prerequisite amount of freshness and vitality. The harmonies and weary resolve that stirs songs like “Archers,” “The Loneliness Waltz” and “Saint Monica” are reminiscent of the Avetts in particular, conveying the same tattered vulnerability that’s all but guaranteed to ensure instant attachment. Yet, at the same time, the trio (Martin Earley (guitar), Devin Mauch (percussion) and Calin Peters (cello)) never give any hint that they’re playing off someone else’s palette. When Peters coos “Bury Me Smiling,” she leaves little doubt that she’s sincere in her plea.
Sincerity and conviction are obvious attributes as far as these Thieves are concerned. It’s a crowded field when it comes to the legions of so-called nu-folk contenders, but with A Wolf in the Doorway, the Ballroom Thieves have found the opening they deserve.