The Mallett Brothers Band, a six piece gang of ramblers from the woods of Maine, released their fifth album Friday, a collection of re-worked traditional hymns from oddly enough, the woods of Maine, entitled The Falling of the Pine: Songs of the Maine Woods. See, woods? I wasn’t lying. I would never lie to you. Honest.
The brothers Mallett and their band of (mostly) bearded merry men found inspiration for their latest album in a book Will Mallett found at his parents’ house a few years back, Minstrelsy of Maine: Folk-Songs and Ballads of the Woods and the Coast. The book consisted of old Maine folk songs and was published in 1927 after it’s writers, Fannie Hardy Eckstorm and Mary Winslow Smyth, embarked on a series of adventures throughout the great state of Maine, collecting the songs passed down through the generations and sung by the grizzly bears doing time in the lumber and fishing industry, as well as logging, trading and the ever glorious occupation of river driver. River drivers were dudes who hopped onto logs and navigated the down stream. Good work if you can get it. Probably better if you can’t.
Mallett leafed through the book and realized he had found the subject matter for his band’s next project. The lyrics are pulled straight from the book, while the music has been written by the band, meshing their blustery Americana roots rock sound with the timelessness of the words and stories. The end result is an album slightly more muted and tame than their last album Lights Along the River, which was released in 2015. Yet the hallmarks of the Mallett’s sound are all there, complete with the distinctive and contrasting vocal styles of Will and his brother Luke, joined by soaring violin lines, bruising guitar work and locomotive-like rhythm. Luke and Will’s father, David Mallett, a Maine folk legend in his own right, adds vocals to “The Logger’s Boast,” a song that would fit perfect sung round a roaring campfire, beer in hand and hat pulled down tightly on your head.
When the band’s last album came out I separated the songs into two categories: driving song or campfire song. It made sense for that album. Yet when their third album, Land, was released, I put together a drinking companion for it. This latest album feels like an album that also merits a drinking companion. So let’s do it.
“Prologue” – bottled beer, finished in a few generous swigs
“The Falling of the Pine” – cheap beer in a solo cup, accompanied by a handful of shots
“Peter Amberly” – a tumbler of whiskey straight, no ice
“Ye Roaring Falls at Kingsey” – bottled beer, perfect for swaying with
“The Jam at Gerry’s Rock” – some homemade Moonshine in a mason jar
“The Logger’s Boast” – cheap red wine in a coffee mug
“Lake Chemo” – a solid glass of Scotch and a cigar (if cigar’s are your kind of thing, no pressure)
“The River-Driver” – whiskey dude, like straight out of the bottle
“The Loss of the Sarah” – bottled beer, held onto like an anchor
“The Horton’s In!” – whiskey shots, whiskey shots, whiskey shots…
“Chesuncook Lake” – an old bottle of Scotch to pull swigs from in between moments of reflection
“Epilogue” – yeah, just a joint will do
For more information on the Mallett Brothers Band, check out their website.