Quick Q & A with David Mallett

David Mallett

David Mallett is one of New England’s musical jewels. He hails from Maine and his songs and stories represent his home region well. David has been recording and touring for four decades. Perhaps one of the best compliments written about him comes from the New York Times, which declared: “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.” That’s a statement about the man and his music. Mallett is a master at his craft and it isn’t a surprise that he was named as one of the most memorable “Mainers” along with Edna St. Vincent Millay, Andrew Wyeth, E.B. White, Marshall Dodge, and Stephen King. Fine company indeed.

To learn a bit more about David Mallett, visit his website. Here’s a classic video of David performing his most unforgettable song, “The Garden Song.”


Your name and your Maine roots are forever connected and are what comes to mind when one says “Maine” and “music.” What do you think is the most Maine about your music?
The lack of cities, the remoteness . . . the praise of landscapes as my starting off point in my songs
Your CD Greenin’ Up is a masterful collection of reworkings of your music and was released in conjunction with the Maine Farmland Trust. How did that collaboration come about?
It was an idea of a friend of mine to celebrate Maine’s emerging new farms with music.
Tell us about the days when you and your family had a regular TV show and sang a variety of songs — including Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra. Cash I can understand, but you’ve got my curiosity piqued with covering Frank Sinatra. What was that all about? (And no I won’t dispute Frank’s great contributions to the American Songbook!) . . . it’s just fascinating to hear about a country/folk musician dong his music.
We did it all with our own twist ..the Sinatra songs I recall singing were the Rod McKuen ones he did . . . “Love’s Been Good to Me,” “Cycles,” etc . . . although today I’d like to tackle a few more of his jazz tunes. It’s all singing. And he was so challenging at it.
Your own songs have been covered by artists as eclectic as John Denver to Kathy Mattea, to Allison Krauss. Have any renditions of your songs tickled your heart?
It’s always the best thing for a song to leave home . . . I like all of them. John Denver helped me raise my kids; Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy helped me with a fiddle standard around the world; Emmy Lou made me country [ almost! ]!
I understand that you have kids in the music business and that they’ve sung with you. Did they grow up going to your shows and getting to understand the ups and downs of the music business that way?
They were always around it , writing and doing gigs and they absorbed all of it unbeknownst to me. When they got their wings, off they went. All I had done led them there.
Do you have any musical aspirations that you have dreamed about but haven’t done yet?
Not really! I would like a tour bus tour someday but I’m not holding my breath. I just hate airplanes these days.

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