WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Folk Legend Lives, Performs in Keokuk

Apr 4, 2014

For 35 years a historic riverboat captain’s house in Keokuk has been sheltering a true veteran of the 1960’s folk music movement.

Chuck Mitchell
Credit Chuck Mitchell

But now musician Chuck Mitchell is venturing out on tour again, including a rare hometown performance on Saturday, April 5 at Keokuk’s Grand Theater. Tickets for the show are available here. Tri States Public  Radio's Ken Zahnle sat down with Mitchell to talk about his life and the upcoming show. 

Mitchell started singing in Detroit folk clubs and saloons, and left his writing job in 1965.  In Toronto, on his first out of town gig, he met Canadian songwriter Joni Anderson from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  They married, and as a duo Chuck and Joni Mitchell played the coffeehouse circuit and gin rummy until they divorced in 1968.

The folk clubs faded, and Mitchell moved on to college and arts council residencies.  He has lived in Coconut Grove, Florida, Santa Monica, California, and Greeley, Colorado.  In the eighties, he gravitated back to the middle west, and bought a tall brick house built by a riverboat captain in 1879 overlooking the Mississippi River in Iowa.

Mitchell's credits include A Prairie Home Companion, and repertory theatre in Texas and England.  He has played Harold Hill in The Music Man, and Woody Guthrie in Woody Guthrie's American Song.  Most recently, he wrote and produced Mr. Foster & Mr. Twain, in which Stephen Foster joins Mark Twain for an evening of story and song.

Chuck Mitchell will present a one man show in the cabaret tradition on Saturday, April 5 at 7:30pm at The Grand Theatre in Keokuk. His performance will include tunes from Stephen Foster to Pete Seeger, and even some of Mitchell's original songs. In adddition to the online link, tickets are available at: Affiliates office, HyVee, Keaslings, and Meister Music in Keokuk. The Bookmark and Burlington by the Book in Ft. Madison. Samuels in Hamilton. And, at New Copperfield's Book Service in Macomb.