Crowd enjoys performance by Joel Mabus

Songs performed by Joe Mabus ranged from old traditional with the banjo, to songs he wrote. (Star photo/Shanna Avery)

Songs performed by Joe Mabus ranged from old traditional with the banjo, to songs he wrote. (Star photo/Shanna Avery)

BALDWIN — A mix of lively and mellow tunes stirred through the north edge of town as audience members were charmed with a free live outdoor performance by Joel Mabus, in continuation of Folk Fridays at the Lake County Historical Museum.

Joel Mabus has toured major folk clubs and festivals throughout North America and has taught guitar playing and songwriting at Pugent Sound Guitar Workshop and other places. In his long recording career, he has 27 albums, and was named to the Detroit Metro Music Awards Hall of Fame in 2000.

With a guitar, banjo and ukulele, Mabus performed a variety of songs, some he wrote, and others rooted deep in tradition. His warm voice, and skilled picking and strumming styles rendered music pleasant to the audience's ears, with some songs having a mellow-blues quality, and other songs remnant of music passed down through the centuries.

Accompanied with clear, lively banjo picking in a minor key, he performed an old Irish tune, "Toss the Feathers," adapted with lyrics to "Wild Hog in the Woods." Another minor-keyed song he performed on the banjo originated from England, "The Old Leather-winged Bat."

"This folk song has been around a long time, you may have sung it in school," he said.

Mabus then picked up his ukulele made in Hawaii out of coal wood - a native wood. He explained the ukulele is connected to the five-string banjo with similar tuning.

"The ukulele was born and bred in Hawaii, but it evolved from an instrument from Portugal during the Moorish days," he said. "Sailors from Portugal brought it to Hawaii, where it mens, 'jumping flea.'"

He performed a selection of songs with the ukulele, including a tune inspired by a dream he had. When he woke up, he wrote, "Ukulele Scrabble," a lively instrumental with notes plucked up and down the fretboard.

The Joel Mabus performance was funded in part by grants from the Lowell Area Arts Council, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Lake County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Fremont Area Community Foundation.

The Folk Friday series will close out with Rev. Robert Jones Sr. and Matt Watroba as a duel called "Common Chords" at 7 p.m. on Aug. 20 at the museum.