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The Fable True

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Album Review

Now that Maine folksinger David Mallett has his own label, North Road Records, he has an incentive to issue albums more frequently and the authority to make them special projects if he wishes. The Fable True is subtitled "Stories from Thoreau's The Maine Woods," and it is a spoken word project in which Mallett recites passages from the book over folk music tracks on which he plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, and harmonica, with Michael Burd joining in on bass (and guitar on one track), and Susan Ramsey on violin and viola. Henry David Thoreau may be best remembered for Walden, his philosophical description of a year lived beside Walden Pond in Massachusetts, but he wrote many accounts of his wanderings through nature, some of which were published after his death in 1862. The Maine Woods (1864) is one of them, and, as heard here in Mallett's dry, direct recitation, it comes off as a largely straightforward description of what it was like to walk and take canoes through the Maine wilderness, encountering Native Americans (who sometimes served as guides) and moose, as well as local flora and fauna. The musical accompaniment is generally unobtrusive, but appropriate to the words spoken. "Rapids" is given a quicker tempo, naturally, while "Loons" finds Ramsey attempting to approximate the sound of these birds on her instruments. Occasionally, the music drops out entirely; for "Supplies," Thoreau's helpful description of what one needs to take along on such a journey, only a cricket is heard in the background. The Fable True isn't quite an audio book, but it isn't a typical David Mallett album, either. The singer's fans, accustomed to his musical celebrations of nature, may find it a welcome side project while looking forward to his next collection of original songs.

Customer Reviews

Terrific

This is one of my favorite books and David Mallett's interpretation really brings Thoreau's trip to life. It's great.

Biography

Born: 1951 in Sebec, ME

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

David Mallett was working on the garden on his family's farm in rural Maine when he was inspired to run into the house, take a pencil and pad, and write a new song. In the decades since, "The Garden Song" has been covered by artists ranging from Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie to John Denver and the Muppets. Besides being translated and recorded in a lengthy list of languages, the song inspired a book, Inch by Inch, published by Harper Collins. Mallett, however, is not limited to just one song. A highly...
Full Bio
The Fable True, David Mallett
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Spoken Word, Music
  • Released: Oct 19, 2007

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