Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:00pm – 10:45pm

‘Picker and poet’ at Branford Folk Oct. 14

Sponsored by: Branford Folk Music Society

Michigan balladeer Joel Mabus, who’s been described as a “picker and poet” for his wide-ranging musical prowess, makes a return visit to the Branford Folk Music Society on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. in the auditorium of the First Congregational Church of Branford, 1009 Main St., on the Town Green.

Admission is $20 for non-members, $17 for members and $5 for children age 12 and under. For more information, call 203-488-7715 or access the society’s Web page at

Mabus last graced the Branford stage in 2005 with his impeccable musicianship, warm humor and storytelling and fine songwriting. Now he’s finally making a return visit. A one-off in the folk world, Mabus defies any easy musical pigeon-hole. His palette ranges from mountain banjo to jazz guitar and from sensitive introspection to wicked satire. He’s both picker and poet, and from coast to coast over the past 40 years this Midwesterner has brought audiences to their feet, wanting more.

He’s the son of a 1930’s old time fiddle champ and a banjo-pickin’ farm girl. His performing career began in college during the Vietnam Era, where he studied anthropology and literature by day and played coffeehouses by night. One critic writes, “Joel Mabus knows his way around the English language and American culture just as well as he knows his way around a fretboard.”

His roots may be in American old-time music, yet his music speaks to the times we live in. Born in 1953 in the southern Illinois town of Belleville, Mabus has recorded 25 solo albums of original and traditional music since his recording career began in 1978. His latest effort, released early this summer, is “Different Hymnals”, a collection of tunes representing a wide variety of inspiration and traditions, different dogma and creeds. His previous release was 2015’s “A Bird In This World”, a guitar-driven album of original songs exploring the blues.

“Performing Songwriter” magazine described Mabus this way: “His sharp writing and soft singing have an amused and gently knowing quality that suggests Garrison Keillor or Jean Shepherd. In fact, Mabus might’ve simply become a storyteller, had he not wielded such a rock-solid guitar pick, versatile among several traditional genres.”

The Branford Folk Music Series is in its 44th year as an all-volunteer, non-profit educational organization dedicated to promoting traditional folk music and song in Connecticut. Its next concert on Nov. 12 will feature Bob Zentz of Virginia, a beloved performer on the folk circuit who has been described as a one-man minstrel show and a scholar of traditional folk music.

Admission: $20, $17
First Congregational Church of Branford
1009 Main Street
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