The Burl Presents
The Ballroom Thieves
The Harmaleighs, Wet Eyed Liars
375 Thompson Rd
Lexington, KY, 40508
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 18 and over
Watch & Listen
The Ballroom Thieves
The Ballroom Thieves fought through a year of tribulations with their sophomore album, 2016's Deadeye, as their shield and sword. Only through continuing to write and perform together were guitarist Martin Earley, cellist Calin Peters, and drummer Devin Mauch able to fend off their darker days. While the skies may not be completely clear, the path ahead is -- and the trio take their first steps forward today.
The next phase begins with their new single, "Only Lonely," a track that harnesses the Thieves' handsome harmonies and nimble, sturdy acoustic folk. Though disarmingly warm, the lyrics expose the terrible version of oneself that emerges when an unhealthy mental state gains control. "I think anyone who has struggled with depression, anxiety, or profound loneliness can identify with the idea that sadness is at once a passenger and a conductor," says Earley, "and sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference."
Just as the Thieves survive on the strength of their reliance on each other, however, the chorus of howls throughout the song remind the listener that we never battle alone. "Depression can be an isolating maze, but despite the reclusive heaviness of the words in the song we attempt to keep a team mentality when a band mate, partner, or friend is living in the darkness," says Peters. "The band remains and gains strength after the touring years have taken their toll, sometimes howling as one, other times answering the cry of distress, but always relentlessly singing."
That pack mentality pervades all aspects of the upcoming EP from which "Only Lonely" stems. It's what pushed Peters to step into the writer's role more than ever, a challenge she admits she may never have undertaken if not for the buoying of Early and Mauch.
" I feel powerful and proud of myself for trying something new, and also sort of protected and encouraged by the guys," she proclaims. They've also rallied a brand new team for this latest outing, with producer Ryan Hadlock joining them for the first time and the support of a new label, Nettwerk Records. "They believed in what we were doing artistically and they weren't going to try to affect that," says Earley. "That's a really incredible thing to hear from a label, especially one of that size and that reputation."
More details on the EP are forthcoming, but their Nettwerk debut single makes one thing clear: The Ballroom Thieves are stronger together than ever, and they're ready to confront both inner and outer demons with the assurance of a band that's only begun to rise.
The Harmaleighs honestly craft poetic, passionate, and powerful songs cut from a pastiche of indie, folk, pop and Americana. In January 2015, The Harmaleighs—Haley Grant [lead vocals, guitar] and Kaylee Jasperson [bass, harmonies]—embarked on something of a modern odyssey in support of their independent full-length debut, Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush. The band-mates and partners got rid of their Nashville apartment, put everything they owned in a storage unit, bought a van, equipped it with a bed, and hit the road with their 8-month-old pug Gus sleeping on the dash for the next nine months. The trials, tribulations, and triumphs of this trek would ultimately inspire their EP, Hiraeth.
“Hiraeth is a Welsh word that we stumbled upon while we were on tour,” says Kaylee. “It basically means, ‘Longing for a home.’ It’s a feeling of rootlessness and homesickness that we started to collectively feel around month six. By the end, we had burned out.”
“Even when we visited Nashville, we would be staying in a Walmart parking lot,” sighs Haley. “That’s where the whole concept came from. It’s the basis for this body of work.”
The lead track from the EP is the ethereal “Birds Of A Feather”, which is out now via all digital outlets. “I wrote the song about a friend who was going through a tough time with a relationship ending,” says Haley. “She was explaining to me what exactly was happening and said 'I'm just convenient for her.' That specific sentence stuck in my head for a couple weeks and sparked the idea for the entire song.”
The Harmaleighs’ debut LP Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush received accolades from American Songwriter, Songwriter UK and more and Spotify featured “I Keep Ticking On” on its coveted Folk Pop playlist, amassing millions of streams and counting. The duo spent the bulk of 2016 “working regular jobs and saving up money” for their next musical chapter. They hit the studio with producer Paul Moak [Mat Kearney, Caitlyn Smith] and recorded the six songs on Hiraeth in just one week. As a result of the previous two years, their signature “Indie Americana” sound further solidified.
“Our last record was very folk-pop,” says Kaylee. “At that point, we were going through transitions and really trying to figure out what we wanted to be. When we finished that marathon tour and regrouped, we got the chance to decide who we are as a band. We wanted to utilize more electric instruments and go more indie pop with storytelling at the core. All of Paul’s productions are different. That was the allure of working with him. He helped us step up and define our style. This is really the first time we’re being true to ourselves.”
On “Lady Brain”, delicate electric guitars entwine with Haley’s hypnotic and heavenly delivery before crashing into an unforgettable refrain. “I was watching Orange is The New Black, and in one scene the main character Piper says, ‘Well, I’m going to use my lady brain and think really hard,’” Haley recalls. “I thought it was so fucking funny. I kept it in the back of my head. It’s a bit of a sarcastic song.”
Then, there’s “Mouthful of Cigarettes” which twists and turns through a bluesy lead line until eventually culminating on a powerful proclamation, “I am a fire without any wood.”
“I was sitting at a bar in Portland on month six of our tour,” Haley continues. “There was an ashtray full of cigarettes, and I was having this moral dilemma in my head. I thought, ‘What if I put all of that in my mouth and swallow the burning cigarettes because there are flames and maybe I won’t be burning out anymore?’ I thought it might spark the flame again.”
The flame has been sparked with Hiraeth and their journey really begins now…
Wet Eyed Liars
WET EYED LIARS, from Bowling Green, Kentucky, are a musical embodiment of glittering sadness who get their thrills from making dreamy grooves while riding the glittering griffin into the flaming moon.
WEL formed in the fall of 2015 when drummer Joshua Riddle tricked his girlfriend Melissa Jones into playing her acoustic songs with a full band:
Joshua: My other band had just broken up, and I was looking for a new band to play with. Melissa always played these beautifully haunting acoustic songs around the house, and I kept hearing them in my head with a full band. But Melissa had no interest in being in a band or performing on stage. I told her we should get with a couple friends to flesh the songs out just for fun, and also so I could have something to practice drums to; she agreed.
Melissa: It started out as just a fun jam session. We got together a few times and put together arrangements for four or five of mine and our guitarist, John's, songs. Halloween was coming up, and the boys decided to throw a party at our practice space. Then, a few weeks before the party, they decided we should play our songs live. Reluctantly, and only because I could hide behind a Halloween costume, I agreed to do this once. We've been playing shows ever since.
Wet Eyed Liars' sound is a melancholy brew of dreamy, spacious indie-rock with powerful female vocals, bluesy guitar, catchy hooks, and a tight, booming rhythm section. Similar in sound to Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire, Stars, Mazzy Star, and Daughter.
Wet Eyed Liars have built a strong cult following in a short amount of time and recently finished recording their debut self-titled EP at Thunder Sound Studio in the intimate backwoods of Franklin, KY.
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