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.