Grinding out great shows and impressive albums for almost a decade, The Mallett Brothers Band has built a loyal fanbase. Their legion of supporters may well expand exponentially over the coming weeks, thanks to a newfound fan, drummer Jon Fishman who will join them on their spring Tour, which kicks off on Friday night in Rhode Island.

“This is what we were meant to do,” Luke Mallett says from his home outside of Portland, Maine, discussing his love for playing live music. And as Luke says in the interview below, between their new album Vive l’Acadie and their friendship with Fishman, the future is looking very bright for The Mallett Brothers Band.

The Mallett Brothers Band are coming up on a decade of touring together, but I assume you and your brother Will have been playing together longer than that right?

Actually, not that much longer. We were 18 months apart, we grew up sharing a bedroom for 18 years. When we were both in our 20s—through the early 2000s—he went off to school in Vermont, and I was based around Portland and we had lots of different projects. But it wasn’t until he graduated college [that we started playing together]. Me and Nick Leen, our bass player, were in another band together previously, and Will was kinda crashing on our couch and that’s how this whole thing started. We started writing songs in the living room, and we just never stopped. It took off and we’ve been going ever since. It was 2009, I believe, when we played our first show.

You guys shared a room for all that time and you never played a lick of music together?

We had different paths, you know? It wasn’t until we were older that everything came together. Will was always the guitar player, very early on. He started playing guitar when he was about ten years old and it was much, much later for me. I started writing originally. I was gonna be a writer, I went to school for a little bit to be a writer. And that was what got me started in music in general, was just as a vocalist and a writer. I didn’t pick up a guitar until I was in my 20s, so it took me a long time. I think I played everything but guitar. And that was probably because our Dad is kind of a phenomenal player. I consider him one of the greatest guitar players I’ve ever watched. It’s a little intimidating.

Your Dad has a connection to Peter, Paul, and Mary right?

His very first records were produced by Paul Stookey who was based out of Maine and had his studio up in Blue Hill, Maine. And that’s where my Dad cut his first record, which I think was in ’78 or ’79. So yeah, they helped him early on and he had lots of other little boosts along the way. But they still work together. Paul put [backup] vocals on my Dad’s last record, I believe. He put some backup vocals on it.

A lot of people describe you guys as like Maine-based but Southern-infused. Having the perspective of you and your brother growing up in Nashville and then gaining a whole new heritage moving to Maine, do you feel like there’s something inherently Southern about Maine? Sometimes does it seem like the way of life there is more southern than northern?

It’s a funny thing, the whole Southern-North thing. We’re very much Maine-based and we’re very proud of it, and we talk about it a lot. Me and my brother, just us, let alone the rest of the band. We’re seven generations in northern Maine, and I grew up in the same farmhouse that my Dad grew up in. I think the whole Mallett family, or those that are left, are still all living up on The North Road in Sebec, Maine.

But I think, ultimately, the similarities between North and South it goes further than that, it’s everywhere. There’s just this real frontier vibe in Maine, and we run into that when we go to Texas which is why it became one of our first markets outside of our home region. There’s just this feeling of wide open space and this frontier mentality that we can totally relate to, even though the landscape is drastically different. I think people’s’ attitudes are pretty similar.

While we’re talking about the North-South, Maine thing, in your new single, “Vive l’Acadie,” you guys bring in a third, French-Canadian influence. Can you talk to me a little bit about the story behind that song?

We always grew up knowing that our grandfather came from Nova Scotia, he came when he was a kid to Milo, Maine with his family. We’ve always been told if you go to Salmon River, Nova Scotia, the whole cemetery there is filled with Malletts, and they’re all spelled differently too which is funny. But we’d always known that connection.

My brother wrote that song, and it came directly from one of the shows that we played way up in Fort Kent which is the last stop before Canada. And we were driving up there and you turn on the radio and it’s French covers of American country songs.

The name itself, specifically, “Vive l’ Acadie” was from an after party. We were at the bar in town and there was this older guy who was talking to us. He started chanting “Vive l’Acadie!” He said it was the Acadian battlecry, more or less. And I think my brother just took that and ran, so it’s kind of an ode to all of those influences, because it really is a melting pot up there.

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