Joel Mabus

Less than a year after releasing Different Hymnals, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joel Mabus has released Ukelele Crimes, featuring six new songs and seven choice vintage numbers, performed only with voice and tenor ukelele. Mabus joins Cara Lieurance to talk about the instrument and its history, and why circumstances were finally right to record his ukelele-centric songs. They sample several tracks including the originals "Ukelele Crimes," "Goats Can Eat Anything," "How Do You Spell Ukelele," and "The Reentrant," as well as WWI-era songs "The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise" and "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans."

Mabus performs at the Kalamazoo Fretboard Festival on Saturday, March 3 at 3 pm.

On Saturday, September 23 at 8 pm, Joel Mabus will release his latest album in Kalamazoo, at the First Baptist Church. He joined Cara Lieurance to showcase some cuts from the new collection, which combines instrumental hymn settings as well as songs adapted from old sources, sometimes updated with newly composed verses by Mabus. According to Mabus, he didn't set out to proselytize to anyone by recording an album of devotional music. It did, however, let him continue his exploration of "parlor guitar" style music, some favorite gospel hymns, and the first slide guitar tracks he's recorded in decades.

Zolton Cohen

Joel Mabus's newest album, his twenty-sixth, is a collection of ten songs revolving around a theme: the blues. Just what kind of blues it is varies, as he explains in his discussion with Cara Lieurance for WMUK's  Let's Hear It. An album release concert for A Bird In This World is set for 8:30 pm at Bell's Eccentric Cafe on Friday, April 10.

Together, Joel and Cara sample six of the new tracks, all original songs from Mabus. He tells the story behind "Brown County Bounce," an instrumental that brings back a recollection of being kicked out of the Bean Blossom Festival in Brown County by fiddler Kenny Baker, for not paying admission.

Singer-songwriter Joel Mabus' musical career, encompassing 25 albums, includes two Christmas releases (How Like The Holly, 1999, and A Parlor Guitar Christmas, 2012). Over time, the folk artist has also compiled a selection of seasonal stories and poems he likes to share with audiences.

As heard on WMUK's Let's Hear It, Joel Mabus joins Cara Lieurance in WMUK's Takeda Studio to play tunes and songs and chat about his most recent recording project, Pepper's Ghost and Other Banjo Visitations.