Richmond Times Review


It takes total commitment to one’s artistry to travel the clubs and coffeehouses of America today, armed only with a guitar, harmonica and a memory bank full of great original songs. Thank goodness Mallett is a true believer.

With a guitar technique all the more impressive for’ its understatement, and a voice that’s both wonderfully rich and weather-worn, Mallett had an immediately engaging stage presence. His ability to chat and joke with his audience, added to one heart-stoppingly great song after another, put the crowd quickly into the palm of his hand.

“My Daddy’s Oldsmobile,” co-written and also recorded by country star Hal Ketchum, was a tale of homelessness from the heart-breaking perspective of a child. The title cut from Mallett’s new album, “Parallel Lives,” held out both despair and a ray of hope for love on the rocks.

Mallett paid a touching tribute to the late John Denver, who recorded Mallett’s “Garden Song” at a time when, Mallett said, he was “basically living out of my car.”

After a couple of jokes at the expense of ’60s pop/rock, Mallett did a 180degree spin, turning in an utterly believable, sentimental take on Herman’s Hermits’ 1967 smash, “There’s a Kind of Hush.”

Mallett poured his heart into the poignant “Hungry for Love”, and gave a testament to God’s, power and truth in “Dangerous Times.” The last of Mallett’s two encore numbers, “Hope-for One and All,” was an anthem of optimism and faith in the goodness of the human spirit to transcend and even transform the horrors of modern life.

Like Maine lobsters, smooth Kentucky bourbon, and ’57 Thunderbirds, Mallett proved himself to be a true American treasure.

- Gordon Ely, Special Correspondent, Richmond Times-Dispatch