Joel Mabus with opener Mark Jewett – February 6, 2019
Joel Mabus may be called a singer-songwriter, but he doesn’t sound like one. 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.” Born in 1953 in the southern Illinois town of Belleville, Joel has recorded 20 solo albums of original and traditional music since his recording career started in 1978. For three years running, Mabus has been in the top 10 most played artists in the Folk Radio Charts for North America (folkradio.org) [The only other top 10 artists who share that 3-year distinction are Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan.] Joel’s latest CD is 2015’s A Bird In This World a guitar-driven album of original songs exploring the blues. A one-off in the folk world, Mabus defies any easy pigeon-hole. His palette ranges from mountain banjo to jazz guitar — from sensitive introspection to wicked satire. He’s both picker & poet, and from coast to coast over the past 40 years this Midwesterner has brought audiences to their feet, wanting more.
“What a player! And a great songwriter, and another guy that can walk out there with just a guitar and hold an audience. And I love that about him.” – Jeff Daniels
“[Mabus] is a sparkling multi-instrumentalist, a versatile singer, at home with introspective lyrics as well as novelty numbers, and a superb songwriter.” – The Victory Music Review
Mark Jewett is a Detroit area singer-songwriter. His work has been twice recognized by American Songwriter Magazine (2015 and 2017 Lyrics Contests) and twice by the For Song Sake Songwriting Challenge as (2013 and 2012). His listeners have noted similarities in his songwriting and delivery styles to a variety of artists, including Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, Jesse Winchester, Slaid Cleaves, Nick Lowe, and Michael Franks. While his music tends to defy any strict genre definition, you are likely to hear influences from folk, rock and pop to country and blues if you listen closely.
After decades of experience in bands as a singing bassist, he released a solo EP in 2011 and followed up the full length album, “Tending The Fire”, in 2016. Here are a few things reviewers have had to say about Mark’s music:
“The best songs do two things, deftly revealing the unvarnished truth about both the songsmith and the listener. With ‘Love Has No Heart Of Its Own’, Mark Jewett has delivered a clutch of tunes that neatly and effortlessly accomplish both ends. You can hear who Mark is in every line, from the heartfelt to the humorous. All of his influences and interests are filtered through his unique and honest slant on life, love, longing and contentment. A warm and pleasurable packet of songs delivered with wry wit.” – Nolan Mendenhall, Producer, Work Ethic Productions