It’s been four and a half decades since Jon Pousette-Dart first caught the eye of Boston-based music promoter Don Law while playing at Chicken Box in Nantucket.
Law convinces the native New Yorker to move to Boston, becomes his manager, and in no time, singer-guitarist Pousette-Dart leads a duo, then a trio, then a whole group. During the 1970s, the Pousette-Dart Band released four harmonious and country-inspired folk-rock albums, and aired on the radio with songs such as “Amnesia”, “What Can I Say” and “Freezing Hot”.
They toured relentlessly and Pousette-Dart continued this practice after the band left it in the early 1980s. He was still there, sometimes as an acoustic solo, often in a duet with singer-guitarist Jim Chapdelaine, until that the pandemic put an end to live concerts.
But he returns, as a group, to the Natick Arts Center on August 27, with Chapdelaine, Eric Parker on drums and Steve Roues on bass, for an evening of new and old, acoustic and electric music. The next night, August 8, they are at the Narrows Center in Fall River.
He attributes some of his early musical tastes to his older sister’s penchant for bringing home all kinds of records.
âShe used to collect singles,â Poussette-Dart said by phone from her home in New York’s Hudson Valley. âFirst she had Ricky Nelson and Elvis Presley, then she started having blues stuff – some John Hammond, Muddy Waters. As soon as I started hearing this and learning to play guitar by listening to it, the world kind of opened up for me.
He remembers watching The Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show”.
âI think for everyone in my generation a bell rang when they hit ‘I want to hold your hand’,â he said. âAnd when Jimi Hendrix launched the Experiment, it was another awakening moment; we realized he was light years ahead of us. I ended up falling in love with this whole musical melting pot where rhythm and blues meet rock’n’roll and folk.
Early in his performing career, and throughout the band’s life, Pousette-Dart composed most of the songs himself, and Capitol’s albums were recorded in Nashville, a place where he felt at home. comfortable being surrounded by so many musicians, and where he finally started collaborating on songs.
âIn the early 90s, the Asylum label asked me to come over there,â he said. âSo I went and wrote a whole bunch of writing for them. But we didn’t make a deal, and I kept all the songs, then released them myself. But thanks to that, I have met a huge number of really talented writers. I wrote there with Darrell Scott, Gary Nicholson, Fred Knobloch, a whole bunch of people. But I haven’t been able to go there much lately, so I came back to writing on my own.
Although he hasn’t made an album since âTalkâ in 2015, the writing continues. But with so many changes in the way music hits the market these days, he’s more interested in releasing singles than albums.
âDuring the pandemic hiatus, I released three or four songs and videos,â he said. âA recent one was ‘Bound Away.’ “
It’s an ironic and insightful song about what it’s like to be on tour all the time, as the band has been throughout the ’70s. But it’s not one of its own; it’s a cover of a song by the multi-genre (but mostly rock) group Cake.
âJohn Troy, my original bass player, sent it to me,â Pousette-Dart recalls. âHe said, ‘PD, that was us on the road in the’ 70s. You should do that song. ‘ So we did, and it was like paying homage to what exactly our lives were like back then. It’s kind of a stream of consciousness on the road, where you go from one place to another and you don’t even know where you are. It is an observation of the life of a musician.
There is also a bunch of his own songs, many of which aren’t quite finished.
âThe more you are a writer, the more you criticize what you do and what you don’t do,â he explained. âI’m pretty critical of just throwing stuff in there until it really meets the measure. There are, but I’m pretty specific about what I want to do and say because of the nature of our situation in the world today.
For the TCAN show, the group will play deep songs as well as old favorites on stand-by.
âWe will go to the end of the line,â he said. âThe show will have tracks from almost all of the early albums, and then we’ll move on to newer music. It covers a pretty wide band throughout, and we really pay homage to the songs that people know from that time period. “
Of course, there will also be these harmonies.
âJim and Steve are singing,â he said. âIt’s not the same mix we had when Troy was with us. We have great harmonies now, but it’s just a different flavor than the original band.
Ed Symkus can be reached at [email protected]
The Pousette-Dart group
WHEN: 8 p.m. August 27
O: The Natick Arts Center, 14 Summer St.
TICKETS: $ 30 member, $ 35 non-member. Tickets for the show postponed from June 4 will be honored.
INFORMATION: 508-647-0097; natickarts.org
The Pousette-Dart group
WHEN: 8 p.m. August 28
O: Narrows Center for the Arts, 18 Anawan St., Fall River
TICKETS: $ 31 in advance, $ 35 on the day of
INFORMATION: 508-324-1926; centreetroit.org