“Inch by inch, row by row,” the refrain of folk master and songwriter David Mallett’s “Garden Song” has played in the heads of many a Maine gardener, while his music has been performed by artists including Alison Krauss, Pete Seeger, Emmylou Harris, John Denver and even the Muppets. On Saturday, Aug. 20, Maine-based Mallett brings his band to the stage at the historic Opera House in Boothbay Harbor.
In a career spanning four decades, he has recorded 17 albums, had several hundred covers of his songs, and performed in clubs, concert halls and festivals across the US, Canada and Europe. He has appeared on numerous broadcasts, including National Public Radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” The New York Times says, “… he harks back to the earnest ambitions and heartfelt melodies of Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, singing with the conviction that folk can still be heroic.” Maine Troubadour David Mallett and his Band
Mallett’s musical career began when he was 11 years old singing in a folk duo with his older brother, Neil. They had their own TV show in the ’60s for a few seasons performing poplar radio hits and recording a few 45s. A great start to a career in show business.
While studying acting at the University of Maine, Mallett heard the music of singer-songwriters such as Gordon Lightfoot and Bob Dylan and tried his hand at writing songs. He began to perform solo and, eventually, expanding his repertoire with original tunes until he was singing all of his own material by age 26.
A turning point in Mallett’s career came in 1975 when he discovered that Noel Paul Stookey, of Peter, Paul & Mary, had moved to Blue Hill, Maine and was opening a recording studio there. Stookey helped bring Mallett’s “Garden Song” to the attention of Pete Seeger who included it on his 1979 album, “Circles & Seasons.” John Denver soon recorded the song and took it to the top 10 on the Adult Contemporary Charts that same year. Since then “Garden Song” has been recorded hundreds of times and performed worldwide, finding its place in the American Folk Lexicon.
Advance discounted tickets, $25, are on sale now through the Opera House box office at 86 Townsend Ave. or by calling 633-5159. Regular tickets are available online at boothbayoperahouse.com and on the day of the show at the door. Regular tickets are $30. Doors for seating open at 7 p.m.; music at 7:30.