The Ballroom Thieves go full political Americana with new song 'Tenebrist'
6 September 2019
New album will be released in 2020
The Ballroom Thieves - lead singer and guitarist Martin Earley, cellist CalinPeters and percussionist Devin Mauch - offer up the first peek into the socially- and politically-driven collection of songs that will be released in 2020 (details TBA, album out via Nettwerk Records). The Thieves work a special concoction of powerful and harmonious music by combining blues, folk, and rock and roll, while never shying away from topics and ideas they are passionate about.
“There’s a Nietzsche quote about how artists muddy the water to make it seem deeper than it is, and as harsh as that sounds, we think it applies directly to our current political situation. One of the challenges in writing this album was trying to maintain a sense of positivity and hope in such an increasingly negative sociopolitical climate, especially since we’ve had trouble writing ‘happy’ songs in general. This song asks the listener to see the reality we’re currently facing while remembering that good things tend to emerge out of the worst circumstances.” - The Ballroom Thieves
“We write about the things that are important to us and right now, it’s impossible to ignore the inadequate state of the world,” says Martin Earley. “We just wrote the songs that came out of us and they happened to be largely political.” He continues, “In an ideal world, we would never write a political record—there’d be nothing extreme enough to warrant it.”
Callie recently spoke with DittyTV about the new song saying: “The only hope and positivity found in this song is the upbeat music that supports important statements from a white man’s perspective such as ‘I am the color of forgiveness, I am the shape of what is wrong.’ Tenebrism refers to a painting technique using chiaroscuro, where dark and light are in extreme contrast with one another. While the illuminated part of the painting is the subject, it’s the darkness that becomes the overwhelming focus of the entire picture. Today in this country, knowing what we know, and having the money and power we have, we are all ‘tenebrists’. We muddy the water to make it seem less shallow when we need to look at our current state for what it is and make the changes we so desperately need to make.”
In this increasingly virtual world of ours, what makes music authentic? For some, songs are no more than tiny sentimental decompressions. But others treat music as an extension of their roots, a mirror of their travels and relationships, and a testament to both their craft and passion. Stylistically, the band finds a captivating mélange of acoustic styles, blending folk conventions with modern hymnals, delta blues grit with rich harmonies, exploring the basic constructions of pop music while almost wholeheartedly rejecting its restrictions at the same time. Perhaps it is a blessing, but the band has a certain awareness and interest in all of its surroundings that equates to a form of musical intelligence. See them live and this becomes tremendously clear. They are a product of their community. They wager it all with every song and every performance. They study those with whom they share the stage. They feed off of the spirit of their audience. They grow from each other. For The Ballroom Thieves, this family tree has only just begun to bloom, but its roots give the trio a strong and solid structure from which to continue to build.
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