Maine troubadour David Mallett and his band take the stage at Boothbay Harbor Opera House on August 20


Dave Mallet performs onstage at the Boothbay Harbor Opera on August 20. Dale Moreau

“Inch by inch, row by row,” folk master and songwriter David Mallett’s refrain “Garden Song” has played in the minds of many Maine gardeners, while its music has been sung by artists like Alison Krauss, Pete Seeger, Emmylou Harris, John Denver and even the Muppets.

On Saturday, August 20, Maine-based Mallett brings his band to the stage at the historic Boothbay Harbor Opera House.

Over a career spanning four decades, he has recorded 17 albums, several hundred cover versions of his songs, and performed at clubs, concert halls, and festivals across the United States, Canada, and Europe. He has appeared on numerous shows, including National Public Radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” According to The New York Times, “he returns to the serious ambitions and heartfelt melodies of Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, singing with the belief that folk can still be heroic”.

Mallett’s musical career began at the age of 11 singing in a folk duet with his older brother, Neil. They had their own TV show in the 60s for a few seasons, performing poplar radio hits and recording a few 45s.

While studying theater at the University of Maine, Mallett heard the music of singer-songwriters such as Gordon Lightfoot and Bob Dylan and dabbled in songwriting. He began performing solo and eventually expanded his repertoire with original tunes until singing all of his own material at the age of 26.

A turning point in Mallett’s career came in 1975 when he discovered that Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary had moved to Blue Hill, Maine and was opening a recording studio there. Stookey helped bring Mallett’s “Garden Song” to the attention of Pete Seeger who included it on his 1979 album, Circles & Seasons. John Denver quickly recorded the song and took it to the top 10 on the Adult Contemporary Charts the same year. Since then, “Garden Song” has been recorded hundreds of times and performed around the world, finding its way into the American Folk Lexicon.

Discounted tickets for the concert are on sale now at the Opera House box office at 86 Townsend Ave. or by calling (207) 633-5159. Regular tickets are available online at boothbayoperahouse.com and on the day of the show at the door. Advance tickets are $25, regular tickets are $30. Seating doors open at 7:00 p.m., music starts at 7:30 p.m.

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