Something old, something new
Born into a musical family, Joel Mabus was destined to play music.
His parents, Gerald and Ruby Mabus were traveling musicians with road show editions of Prairie Farmer’s WLS Barn Dance. His dad and uncle played barn dances, medicine shows & small town radio stations throughout the lower Midwest before the war.
My wife and I have always had a collection of instruments lying around the house that our children were encouraged to play. The Mabus family had the same philosophy, and by the time young Joel was in grade school he had taken to his older brother's Silvertone mandolin. Guitar, banjo and fiddle would soon follow.
As a teen during the 1960's Joel began writing his own music based on the traditional old time fiddle tunes and bluegrass that he grew up with. As with most from our generation, Joel's music is laced with socio-political commentary, while maintaining a strong connection to his roots of traditional styles. After attending Michigan State University, where he studied anthropology, he chose to play music professionally in 1975.
I first heard Joel Mabus on Mike Flynn's syndicated radio program, "The Folk Sampler". I have since heard him play at several festivals and workshops. Every time I hear him I am taken by his deceptively simple-sounding tunes that are actually very complex compositions. His dexterity on guitar and his wonderful clawhammer banjo are complimented by his deep, rich voice and moving songwriting skills.
Visit joelmabus.com for more info, tour dates and buy a few CDs.