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Left Lane: The Mallett Brothers Band

Maine country-rockers inject the Lowdown

February 16, 2012
By RICH GIBSON , Times Leader

After giving The Mallett Brothers excellent new record a spin, I immediately envisioned the band with deep southern roots. Well, not exactly.

I was a little more than surprised to discover the six-man outfit a product Portland, Maine where they have achieved a significant degree of success. And for good reason.

Hopefully, the boys fire up their tractors and take to the national touring circuit where we expect they would make hundreds of new friends.

The Brothers' 'Lowdown,' actually a late 2011 release, is a mover and shaker of distinction. The record's dozen tracks are all high-caliber cuts, written primarily by brothers Luke and Will Mallett.

Though the infectious title track makes an immediate statement, the disc's remaining 11 songs stand tall on their own merit.

Feel free comparing the Mallett's to an array of 70's and 80's southern rockers who once dominated FM radio.

'Lowdown,' however, features all-original material with a majority of its songs pleading for program directors to take note.

The band's bio suggests Will Mallett discovered an electric guitar in a landfill and began learning Bruce Springsteen sings at age 4. He has since been weaned on contemporary bluegrass which makes occasional appearances on the new record.

Luke Mallett began composing in his teens and has a varied taste in music styles, though his country-blues/rock roots are front and center on 'Lowdown.'

Guitarist/writer Nate Soule made good use of his parents' music collection, digging the sounds of Santana, The Band, Crosby, Still, Nash & Young before owning his first guitar at age 7.

Soule contributes mandolin, organ, percussion and a solo write, 'Papercut' to the new record.

Wally Wenzel paid his dues during the evolving 80's, playing bar bands in Vermont. Wenzel, an adept dobro and lap steel player, doubles as an in-studio engineer. He and Soule co-produced 'Lowdown.'

Bassist Nick Leen is credited for helping form the band after determining several late night jam sessions resulted in a number of good vibes.

Drummer Brian Higgins, reportedly first rejected the notion of playing "in a country band," but has since come around and is a driving force behind the Brothers' highly-touted live shows - a dominant number of which are staged in the great northeast.

Get a taste of the new record at the band's website:

YOU were expecting Colin Cowherd but instead discovered Herman's Hermits singing, "Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter."

That scenario caught more than a few local ESPN Radio listeners off guard a few weeks ago when WOMP 1290 AM said so long to Scott Van Pelt and hello to Eddie Van Halen.

According to WOMP general manager Scott Miller, a format change was in the process of being finalized, thus the station staged a temporary simulcast with KOOL 105.5 FM, initially irritating many unaware of an upcoming transition.

In the past couple weeks, WOMP has now converted to a 'Classic Country' format, opting for 24/7 country music hits of the 60s and beyond.

Miller informed the Lane there was various feedback from ESPN fans who must now scramble to locate the all-sports talk network.

"It wouldn't surprise me if another (local) station sought to (bring ESPN radio) back to the area," Miller related. "In the meantime, we've had considerable reaction, most all of it positive, to going with the classic country format. Where else can you turn on the radio and head C.W. McCall's (70's) truckers' favorite, 'Convoy?'"

THE Lane has never been a huge Grammy's fan which may surprise some readers. While we were pleased to see Springsteen and his E Streeters open last Sunday's production, the entire process fails to peak our interest.

A cynical blogger on the 'No Depression Americana and Roots' webpage listed '54 More Reasons to Hate The Grammy Awards.'

In which he proceeded to list the following singer/songwriter/bands never to have achieved Grammy status: The Doors. Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Grateful Dead, The Beach Boys, Janis Joplin, Bob Marley, Diana Ross, Chuck Berry, Led Zeppelin, Journey, Toby Keith, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jackson Browne, Dusty Springfield, The Byrds, ZZ Top, Guns n' Roses, Kiss.....

Gibson may be reached at



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