For a time in the 1970’s, the Pousette-Dart Band ranked among every New England college kid’s favorite live act.
With singalong lyrics, tight harmonies, and a soft rock vibe that sounded as good in the dorm room as it did in the arena, the Pousette-Dart Band seemed to be everywhere. They disbanded in the 1980’s, came back for couple of reunion tours since, and had a 21st century moment when the elegant ballad “Fall on Me” was resurrected in an episode of the TV show Lost. (This viewer recognized it and shouted out loud!)
50 years later, founder Jon Pousette-Dart still plays live. He’s bringing the band to town later this week and we’ve got a pair of tickets to giveaway for the show at the Narrows Center for the Arts, on Friday August 19. For a chance to win tickets, e-mail Ken Abrams at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Free Tickets” in the subject line by 9AM Wednesday, August 17.
I spoke with Pousette Dart last week as he prepared for several dates around the region. He’s certainly ready to get out and play live music again. “We’re coming back from this bench we were on during the pandemic – it’s starting to pick up now,” he explained. “I’m back out doing duo dates with my guitar player (and producer) Jim Chapdelaine. I’m looking forward to having the band play Fall River, it’s a real tight unit, like a close-knit family.”
Pousette-Dart is touring with several high-profile players including Malcom Gold (Sheryl Crow, Indie.Arie) on bass/vocals, Eric Parker (Joe Cocker, Mick Taylor) on drums, and Jim Chapdelaine (Al Anderson, Phoebe Snow) on guitar/vocals.
Much of the band’s success can be traced to their early days when they fell in with top management.
“When I first got started, I started working with a famous manager in the area. Don Law was a promoter in the northeast, he just threw us on the road, we started touring heavily in the early 70s on the college circuit, there is a huge concentration of schools in the northeast, so we were very active. We were able to share bills with an awful lot of acts on both big and small stages, that time paid off, it’s really helped a lot in the longevity of the band,” explained Pousette-Dart.
In addition to headlining concerts, the band opened for James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, The Eagles, and Ry Cooder, among others. At one point, he shared an apartment with Livingston Taylor, James’ brother, who was also a client of Law.
There were too many memorable moments to mention. “I was always a big fan of Little Feet, we were fortunate to do a lot of dates with them before Lowell died, it was a lot of fun and it felt like a high water point,” said Pousette-Dart. “We also got to do some shows with The Byrds before Clarence White died, that was my favorite incarnation of The Byrds. I always loved playing with the original incarnation of NRBQ, my guitar player, Jim, works with Big Al Anderson (formerly of NRBQ).”
Pousette-Dart has seen a widespread transformation in the music industry over the past fifty years, and he’s adapted as best he can, releasing music one song at a time these days.
“I think the biggest change is the delivery system of music, now that streaming has become the major way that people get music, it’s made me go back to a real singles-oriented mindset,” he said. “The last album I did, we recorded it in Nashville and I thought it was my best record, but it just didn’t register. So what I’ve been doing is releasing singles and putting them out immediately as opposed to waiting for a full release. I’m trying to put things out as they come.”
He’s also working on re-issuing the classic albums from the band.
“I spent about 40 years trying to get the masters back from Capital, they would not give them to me,” Pousette-Dart explained. “Well, Capitol Records was recently taken over by Universal and it turns out the lawyer there, I was one of the first bands he heard as a kid. So he granted us the rights back to the original masters and we’re going to do hi-res masters with really beautiful covers. We’re going to put it out on a label called Direct Grace, and it will be a fundraiser to benefit children sold into slavery worldwide.”
Due to delays in vinyl production, it might be a year or two before you see those releases; meanwhile, you can expect a great show from the band this weekend. “I try to mix it up and bring it all to the table, the old stuff as well as the new, and I love to do off-the-cuff covers by people that I like.”