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Joel Mabus explores the blues with new album "A Bird In This World"

May 12, 2015

Joel Mabus is a maverick in the folk music world, with a career so eclectic and varied he defies any easy pigeonhole.
Credit Jeff Mitchell

Joel Mabus grew up writing, singing, and playing the blues in Southern Illinois.

Though he grew up in the midst of Beatlemania, Mabus always felt drawn to the tunes of Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs, among others.

He now lives in Portage, outside Kalamazoo, and has just released his new album, A Bird In This World.

Mabus has been performing the blues for over 40 years, and released his first record with a small Michigan label in 1977.

Being active in the folk music scene for more than four decades has given Mabus a unique perspective on the evolution of the folk and blues community.

“I’ve seen a newer generation come on in Michigan,” says Mabus,” both performers and people interested in the music. And they’re taking this and running with it, and that’s great to see.”

Mabus talks with us about growing up with music, moving to Michigan, and the future of the contemporary folk music scene in our interview above.