One of the top names on the Maine music scene is David Mallett, whose songs have touched people around the world, not just here in his home state. Well, two of his sons — Will (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, piano) and Luke (vocals, acoustic guitar) Mallett — are looking to follow in their father’s footsteps while marching to the beat of a decidedly different drummer. You see, The Mallett Brothers Band (with Nick Leen, electric bass guitar; Brian Higgins, drums, percussion, vocals; Nate Soule, electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, pump organ, piano, vocals; and Wally Wenzel, dobro, electric guitars, lap steel, vocals) have more of a rock/country flavor to their music as opposed to the folk music with which the two brothers grew up. With three albums out (a self-titled debut “Low Down” and “Land”) and a busy schedule, the quintet are preparing for a show in Bangor opening for none other than country superstar, Toby Keith. To that end, I called Luke to chat about that gig and how things are going for his band.

Q: One of the things I noticed when listening to your three CDs was the evolution of your music.

Mallett: Yes, there’s a pretty drastic change from one to the next — and they’re all over a year from each other, I think. We’ve been right around four years now for three records, The last one, “Land,” is the one that took the longest in between. The other ones were about a year apart.

Q: When I set up this interview you said the band is busy — define “busy.”

Mallett: We’re pretty much on the road all the time, we’ve all gotten to the point where more or less day jobs don’t exist anymore … we’re out anywhere from four to five days a week and we’ve been doing a lot of longer runs where we’ll be out for a month or two.

Q: For instance?


Mallett: We did a run in March down to Texas and back which was about three-and-a-half or four weeks — we’re doing the same run again in October — so we’re gone a lot of the time. It’s almost at the point where we will just be riding in the van and playing shows which is going to be fantastic — we’re not far from that.

Q: I’m sure your upcoming gig opening for Toby Keith will only help in getting you closer still to your goal. Is this one of your more high-profile shows so far?

Mallett: It’s up there, yeah. I think it’s safe to say that he’s one of the bigger acts going right now which is kind of cool for us. And we have done some of the Waterfront series — they’ve been pretty good to us — we’ve gotten on that stage for Kah-Bang Festival last year which was a lot of fun, we did like a second stage when Jason Aldean came to town which was a lot of fun, too, but this is going to be a main stage, beginning-of-the-night slot which is pretty great. It’s a step in the direction that we want and there’s going to be some other ones. We’ve got a second stage gig coming soon at Meadowbrook where the Allman Brothers come — that’s also a small stage, the Magic Hat stage they have down there — but when it’s the Allman Brothers you jump all over that. But yeah, it’s one of the bigger profile gigs that we’ve had and it’s pretty great that the Waterfront is helping out because Toby Keith’s already coming with his own acts. I think there’s two other acts on the bill with him before we get there — so usually these big tours already have opening bands so to be able to squeeze into a slot like that is really lucky. It’s really great.

Q: And every bit of exposure you get the better it is in the long run.

Mallett: Yes, every little bit helps. We take everything we can get. And this new record has done pretty well so far, we’ve actually gone and hired a publicist and we’ve been collecting a team of people — that’s been kind of nice because we’ve gotten a lot of press on the record outside of New England which has really been our goal for the past three years. New England has really treated us well and paid for us to travel. I think we’re starting to spread a little bit so the tours are getting further and further away.

Q: Is “Land” a new release?


Mallett: We did a release party in Portland in May — I think May 7 — and then we did kind of an official national release in June where we started pushing it out into the world, and that was June 18. We did chase it: we were in Nashville the week afterwards … and that’s really the goal. Now that it’s out there we’ve just got to get there. That’s a big part of this whole puzzle is showing up, you know. You can have a great record, but you always have to go where the people are, you have to chase it down, so we’re heading out to Colorado in October. Keep moving, we just keep moving all the time!

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Mallett: Just that the Toby Keith show will be a really big one for us right now and if I could mention the website that would be great. We’re in charge of our own website, we are the personalities behind the posts and the pictures and we try to make it fun … so everybody’s welcome to come on tour with us — we really try to keep all our fans updated and have made a lot of cool friends out of it. So it’s

Lucky Clark has spent over four decades writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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