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 skilled songsmith, Mallett has consistently captured the cold winds and warm hearts of northern New England and the simple life of rural America through his songs. In addition to being featured on Mallett's many albums, his tunes have been covered by a growing list of artists, including Emmylou Harris, who recorded Mallett's "Red Red Rose," and Kathy Mattea, who recorded his "Summer of My Dreams."
Mallett attracted attention with his music at a very early age. By the time he was ten, he was performing throughout northern New England in a country-folk band that he shared with his brother. Although the group was best known for its youthful renditions of country tunes by Buck Owens and Johnny Cash, the band also included a large number of folk songs by Peter, Paul and Mary and the Kingston Trio in its repertoire. While attending the University of Maine, Mallett became absorbed by the songs of Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan, and other contemporary singer/songwriters. Leaving the school, he embarked on a career as a soloist. Mallett's first break came in the mid-'70s when he met Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary. Stookey, who owned a recording studio in South Blue Hills, ME, became Mallett's mentor and produced his first three albums. He was also instrumental in bringing "The Garden Song" to the attention of Pete Seeger, who included it on his 1979 album Circles and Seasons.
In the early '90s, Mallett left his home state and moved temporarily to Nashville in hopes of becoming a successful songwriter. During the six years that he lived in Tennessee's Music City, he co-wrote many songs with country music songwriter Hal Ketchum and recorded a country-folk album, This Town, that was produced by Jim Rooney in 1993. Mallett returned to northern Maine in 1997, and a live album, Parallel Lives, which reprised tunes from throughout Mallett's career, was released by the Flying Fish label that year. A songbook of his compositions, The Songs of David Mallett, was published by Cherry Lane in 1997 as well. Flying Fish issued the Ambition album in 1999, and Mallett's recording output continued into the 21st century with the release of 2003's Artist in Me, 2006's Midnight on the Water, 2007's The Fable True, and 2009's Alright Now. ~ Craig Harris