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Album Review

Since he launched his own label, North Road Records, David Mallett has been sure to keep albums in the pipeline regularly. But of his last two, Midnight on the Water (2006) was a live album, and The Fable True (2007) was a spoken word effort in which he recited passages from Henry David Thoreau's The Maine Woods. So Alright Now is his first album of all-new studio recordings in six years, that is, since 2003's Artist in Me. This is actually the longest the 58-year-old singer/songwriter has gone between new collections since his debut LP, David Mallett, in 1978. He may have taken the time to reassess, or his worldview may have evolved somewhat. Or maybe it's the world that's changed. In any case, this is an unusually lively and hopeful collection of songs for a songwriter and performer who has often been far gloomier. Not that he's become starry eyed, you understand. In "Don't Ask Me Now," he returns to a metaphor from his most popular composition, "Garden Song," noting that weeds sometimes grow right next to roses. But, as he puts it in another of several songs that merge opposites, "North Meets South," "Our believin's bigger than our doubt." Such guarded optimism is a long time coming for an artist who gazes stoically from the black-and-white photograph on the album cover, his hair and beard now all white, his forehead lined, his eyes deep-set, wearing a work-shirt and cradling his guitar. Mallett was never young in his songwriting sensibility, but now he may have grown into the old sage he always wanted to be, and that enables him to be less depressed and more rueful. After all, he's old enough now that, when he writes a love song ("Beautiful") it's about a father's love of his daughter (or is it a granddaughter?). The somewhat happier tone of his lyrics is supported by an unusually lively set of musical arrangements that rely far more on electric guitar than is typical for a David Mallett album. The musical shift is heralded upfront with the lead-off song, the sardonic "Ten Men," a gutbucket blues-rock shuffle that sounds like it escaped from one of Bob Dylan's later albums. Thereafter, the guitars twang and chime, notably on "Innocent Time," making this one of Mallett's most musically ambitious albums. It's always especially rewarding when an artist with such a clear eye for the dark side of things chooses to head for the light.

Customer Reviews

His best album yet.

I have been a fan of David Mallett's for 30 years now and just like a fine wine he gets better with age.
Every song here is a gem. I saw him perform most of this album in New Paltz last weekend and I would
have to say that if I had to choose one album to be stranded on a desert island with this would be it.

Just preview it.

If you listen to the previews you will buy it. It's that good. He will hook you with Ten Men, fillet you with One of Those Things, and have you sizzling in the pan by the time you get through North Meets South.
I discovered David Mallett's music on ITunes three years ago and have been listening to it ever since. This release is by far his best effort, not a flat tasting pickle in the barrel.
Thank you David for sharing your talent with us.

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
Alright Now, David Mallett
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