Photo: Nate Eldridge / Courtesy of artist

The Mallett Brothers Band Usher in a Roots Rock Revival with “Long Black Braid” (premiere)

The Mallett Brothers Band's latest single meshes rock 'n' roll sentiment with folk troubadour storytelling with this gripping road anthem.

Influenced by the folk and country that’s rooted in their genre, many Americana bands naturally evoke images of home in their music. For many, that may be a homestead out on a Midwest prairie, or the windswept plains of the southwest. Yet, the homespun cloth of which the members of the Mallett Brothers Band are made hails from Maine. The majestic greens of their forests, icy blues of their northeastern shores, and the regal heights of their iconic mountains all come into play when listening to their unique contributions to the alt-country format.

Their dense, world-worn roots music is folk rock at its finest point, but with some contemporary twists thrown in whenever applicable. Founded by brothers Luke and Will Mallett, the band’s sound has evolved from a meshing of influences ranging from hard rock to bluegrass, and even hip-hop (Luke was in a rap collective back in high school). Ergo, the Mallett Brothers Band have brought as much of a variance to Americana music as fellow brothers like the Avetts have, although theirs is distinctively northeastern in taste. The next step in their captivating musical evolution is an ode to all things French Canadian with their new album, Vive L’Acadie!.

The Mallett Brothers Band’s new single, “Long Black Braid”, is an anthem indicative of all of the influences above. Placing an exclamation point beside the “rock” in that folk-rock descriptor, it is a richly layered rock ballad that evokes images of traveling down northeastern highways with the wind in your hair. Although, this piece’s jubilant instrumentation is ever deceptive considering the dark nature of its lyrics. By the time listeners reach the end of the track and its gorgeously animated music video, a recent Star Wars quote may come to mind: “This is not going to go the way you think.”

Luke Mallett tells PopMatters, “‘Long Black Braid’ is a story following three incarnations of the same character backward through time. It’s an age-old tale of the girl who’s either the best thing that ever happened to our narrator, the worst thing, or a combination of both. In my head, I was picturing the same characters in three different eras, but living the same kind of outcast lives.”

“The song was written on the road, and I took some advice from our good friend and fellow troubadour Eric Bettencourt on the chord structure. I remember working on it at a State Park outside of Austin, very late at night. The image of the long black braid trailing straight out behind the girl on the bike was what got the lyrics started in the first place, something we had seen on the highway somewhere. Very much rock ‘n’ roll influenced, I believe this track hosts the first appearance of my newly acquired Earthquaker Dream Crusher Fuzz pedal.”

Vive L’Acadie! was recorded at Acadia Recording in Portland. It releases on 15 June.