April 21, 1951: Maine singer-songwriter David Mallett, who has released more than a dozen albums, is born in the Piscataquis County town of Sebec. One of his early compositions, “Garden Song,” is recorded by John Denver, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul and Mary, and many other acts.

Mallett begins performing at the age of 11 in a country and folk duo with his older brother, Neil. Singer-songwriters Gordon Lightfoot and Bob Dylan inspire him to begin writing his own songs while he is a theater student at the University of Maine.

After gaining experience singing in bars and gradually creating a set list of songs that are exclusively his own, he meets Noel Paul Stookey, of Peter, Paul and Mary, in 1975. Stookey, who owns a Blue Hill recording studio, produces Mallett’s first three albums there.

Aside from a stint in Nashville in the 1980s, Mallett makes Maine his home and often his stage as well, although he also performs around the world.

The internet-based folk music fan group Folkwax picks his release “Artist in Me” as album of the year in 2003.

Singer/songwriter David Mallett photographed in 2009. Staff photo by John Ewing

“You know, it’s an interesting life,” he says in a 2018 interview about his career. “You live like a farmer. Some years you have good seasons and some years you don’t, and you’ve got to always come up with something new to keep things interesting. It’s a challenge, but there’s nobody else I’d rather be, you know? Maybe a little smarter would be good.”

Mallett’s sons, Will and Luke, perform as the Mallett Brothers Band.

Joseph Owen is a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. He can be contacted at: jowen@mainetoday.com.

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