When it comes to Maine born and bred musical performers, few stand out with such consistent grace, integrity and talent as singer/songwriter David Mallett. He’s recorded 14 albums over the decades of his career, and has had his songs recorded and performed by such diverse artists as Pete Seeger, Alison Krauss, John Denver and The Muppets. His insightful songs reflect the heart and soul of our state as few others and convey what it means to live and work here. It is always a pleasure to chat with him as I did in February when he talked about his life and his music — which are pretty inseparable, as it turns out.

Q: So, what’s up?

Mallett: I’m working on a couple of farm songs. I’ve realized that my big strength is writing about rural Maine — rural America — and I’m trying to write a few new things in that area.

Q: I remember you saying that songwriting was something you really labored over.

Mallett: Oh, yeah — it’s like an exercise program: you don’t want to do it but once you get into it, it feels great, you know?

Q: You are on your own nowadays, right?

Mallett: Yup. None of those corporate affiliations.

Q: With the Internet nowadays you really can do it by yourself.

Mallett: Yeah, it’s kind of like the middle man has been removed, to a great degree — of course, you don’t get that big advertising machine … I’m a little too old to advertise anyway.

Q: You have a pretty solid core of fans, so all you need is an Internet connection and you’re good to go.

Mallett: Yup, and I need to let them know how to find me … most of the shows I’m doing now are old, familiar places that I’ve played over the years; and people that call me up and want to do a special thing like this thing in Fairfield.

Q: That’s on March 11, right?

Mallett: Yeah, it’s a Sunday, March 11, at 2 p.m.

Q: Now your latest album, “Alright Now,” came out in 2009, correct?

Mallett: That was my favorite record, actually. I felt that came the closest to what I want to sound like than anything I’ve ever done.

Q: What was the difference? Is it maturity?

Mallett: I think its maturity and perspective … and I wanted to catch a certain spontaneity without overdubs. We did very few overdubs on that and I think it came out sounding more spontaneous than a lot of my other stuff.

Q: What’s you’re next project?

Mallett: What I think I might be doing is a compilation of some of my old stuff revisited in my mature voice. I’m almost 61 now and I feel like I’m singing better than ever and my audiences think so, too — and some new songs sprinkled in. That’s my goal, to make a record with some old and some new.

Q: Do you have any idea when it might be coming out?

Mallett: No, not really … but it might be coming out sometime this year, hopefully in the fall. I’m hoping to get in and start recording. What I’m doing now is finishing up some of the newer stuff and hoping to get in in the summer to record and then release it before the end of the year. It’ll be an album of farm songs.

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

Mallett: I’m entering my 50th year in show business. I started out with my brother in 1962 up in Bangor on Spotlight On Youth, and then we were sort of local favorites all throughout the 60s. This has been my driving passion for 50 years.

Q: Well, congratulations!

Mallett: It’s been a lot of work to get this far, you know? I’m also very excited about my boys: The Mallett Brothers Band. They’re starting to make a name for themselves. They’re out of Portland and they’re already playing in a lot of places that I haven’t played and they’re playing to bigger crowds. Of course, it’s a different kind of music, it’s rock music — it’s country/rock — but one of the things I enjoy the most is going to their shows and watching them do their thing. They’re very capable … it’s good to have the kids going out.

Q: Are you kind of secretly pleased — or maybe overtly so — that they followed in your footsteps?

Mallett: Well, yeah, I’m pleased — I’m very pleased. I never really made them feel they had to do it but I always said, “If you have the ability to do it, you sort of have an obligation to give it a go!”

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.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.