Joel Mabus | Golden Willow Tree

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Folk: Modern Folk Country: Old-Timey Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Golden Willow Tree

by Joel Mabus

In the tradition of Pete Seeger, a folk music album from Joel Mabus with new songs and old songs updated, with vocals, guitar and banjo, No gimmicks or studio tricks -- honest music, moving & true -- and at times just plain fun.
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Last of June
2:18 $0.99
2. Papa Caught a Catfish
2:55 $0.99
3. Sally Goodin in the Alley With Sugar in the Gourd
5:06 $0.99
4. Spoon River and You
3:32 $0.99
5. Speed the Plow
2:27 $0.99
6. Ruben
6:02 $0.99
7. The Golden Willow Tree
6:19 $0.99
8. Banjo Ala Turk
4:27 $0.99
9. The Bird's Alphabet
4:03 $0.99
10. Noe's Dove
3:04 $0.99
11. Ride Away Easy
4:36 $0.99
12. Crossing the Ohio
2:46 $0.99
13. Study War No More
4:10 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Here you have for your amusement & edification a collection of banjo tunes, ballads and prairie serenades. Rivers run through it and birds fly above it while life’s indelible issues persist. The willow tree is made of roots & branches – the roots solid in the past, drinking from deep hidden waters while the branches are ever-spreading, shaped by wind & weather. So am I – planted here with my feet on the ground and my head in the sky, stretching my limbs once again to share the music that both feeds me and is from me in this season. [notes from the CD case]

Review from SING OUT! magazine, Vol. 48 #3 Fall 2004 p 142.:

Joel Mabus
Golden Willow Tree (Fossil 1504)

Very quietly and under way too many people’s radar, Joel Mabus has spent the past 25 years building one of the most impressive bodies of work spanning both traditional and contemporary folk music. He’s a fine singer, has a virtuoso’s command of the guitar and banjo (and fiddle, which he doesn’t play on this particular album), has a deep repertoire of traditional ballads, old-time music and blues, and is a superb songwriter whose compositions are well-informed by the traditions and traditional songs he’s mastered.

Like many of his past recordings, Golden Willow Tree seamlessly mixes traditional songs with Joel’s original material. The title song, a variant of the more familiar “Golden Vanity,” is a long a cappella ballad that Joel performs magnificently, letting the story unfold almost cinematically as the verses go by. His version of “Study War No More,” which incorporates the familiar “Down By The Riverside” with “Walk In Jerusalem” seems particularly relevant at this point in contemporary history, as does his rewrite of the traditional “Ruben” into a contemporary allegory about politics and class struggle in the Bush era.

Not all of Joel’s songs deal with weighty subjects. “Spoon River and You” is a very pretty, summertime love song, while in “The Bird’s Alphabet,” he cleverly finds a bird for each of the 26 letters. Other great songs include “Ride Away Easy,” which captures the scene of a cowboy ready to ride into the sunset and “Noe’s Dove,” whose subtext reflects a search for inner peace and spiritual fulfillment.

Joel’s three instrumentals, on both guitar and banjo, are also a delight. This is a solo recording with no sidemen and no overdubs. None are at all necessary.

Mike Regenstreif



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