Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 23, 2012

Joel Mabus performing two shows in region

From staff reports

TRAVERSE CITY — Singer-songwriter Joel Mabus is giving two shows in the region for the holidays.

The first is Thursday, Nov. 29, at 8 p.m. at Frankfort's Garden Theater. The second is at Sleder's Family Tavern in Traverse City on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 4 p.m.

Mabus is showcasing music from his most recent album, "A Parlor Guitar Christmas." In 2005, he released "Parlor Guitar," a collection of guitar instrumentals drawn from the well-known music of the parlor music era — the period just before the invention of the microphone in the early 1920s. Performed with the smaller acoustic guitars of the time, the music was meant to be heard up close and in small rooms, and not from the concert stage.

This time around, he interprets traditional and familiar Christmas music, from "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and the "Wassail Song" to "Gesu, Bambino" and "Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant."

"The feeling I wanted on this album was peaceful and tranquil," said Mabus, who has been among the top 10 most-played artists on folk radio for three years running. "There's no rock and roll, no drums, no jingle bells. It's guitar played with fingers. It's the kind of music I like to hear on Christmas Eve and the kind of music I like to play when I'm home on Christmas Eve."

Mabus has an earlier holiday album, 1999's "How Like the Holly." On that disk, he offered guitar instrumentals with several songs to provide an eclectic collection highlighting some lesser-known carols, ancient melodies and a few original songs.

Mabus is the son of an old-time fiddle champ and banjo-strumming farm girl. His own performing career began in college during the Vietnam era, when he played coffeehouses by night and went to classes during the day. To date, Mabus has recorded 20 solo albums of original and traditional music. His 2011 CD, "American Anonymous," is an album of traditional American folk songs.

Tickets for the Frankfort performance are $15 in advance from Frankfort bookstore, Corner Drug in Frankfort and East Shore Market in Beulah, or $20 at the door. For more information, call 352-7561.

Tickets for the Traverse City performance are available at Sleder's and Oryana Food Cooperative for $15 in advance, or they'll be sold for $20 at the door. Call 947-9213 to find out more.