Tuesday, January 26, 2010

David Mallett -- Alright Now

Alright Now
North Road

I guess I’ve known Maine singer-songwriter David Mallett since about the time his first LP, the self-titled David Mallett, came out more than 30 years ago. It was a fine debut that included David’s “Garden Song,” an instant classic that’s been covered by countless artists from Pete Seeger to Kermit the Frog. A fine writer whose sound comes from the same neighbourhood as Gordon Lightfoot, virtually all of David’s recordings can be counted on for their engaging lyrics, memorable melodies and economical arrangements. David’s latest release, Alright Now, ranks with his best work.

The album opens with “Ten Men,” a song that paints conspiratorial picture of a mysterious, small but powerful group of men who, between them, control the wealth and resources of the world.

Other songs are not so bleak. “North Meets South” recalls the spirit of hopefulness the pervaded politics when Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, while “Beautiful,” sung to a young daughter, glories in the promise of youth. He follows it with “Innocent Time,” in which he recalls the glory years of his own youth, and “End of the Day,” about the determination to keep on moving forward as he gets older.

David ends the album with “Alright Now,” a song that fondly recalls old friends from years ago that have lost touch.

For the most part, these are mature songs from a writer who can look back authentically at youth, and much of middle age for that matter, as part of the cycle of life.

--Mike Regenstreif

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