Songstress Karen Mal Comes Home to Fishstock

Award-winning folk songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Karen Mal returns to the stage at Fishstock July 3.

Mal has opened for or appeared onstage with performers such as Tom Paxton, Slaid Cleaves, Tom Prasada-Rao, Gail Davies, Buddy Mondlock, and Tom Kimmel.

Originally from New England, more recently from Wisconsin, Mal worked in regional theatre for several years as an actor and musical director/composer before settling in Austin, Texas to play music full-time. She has lived and worked in places from Manhattan to Memphis, from Wisconsin to California, and toured in 40 states.

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Mal, who caught a career-altering break when the late Fred Alley hired her just out of college to perform at American Folklore Theatre [now known as Northern Sky Theater]. She returned to the theater for seven years, and in the time since that fateful meeting has called Austin her home base and earned national acclaim as a captivating singer whose vocals range from charming to seductive, impressionistic to philosophical.

“Karen Mal has a storyteller’s voice, sifting words like she is talking to you over coffee, effortlessly rising from dusky phrases to bell-pure highs,” wrote Michael Devlin of Music Matters. “You believe every word and note and you could listen to her sing all night long.”

Her first album, Mercury’s Wings (2002), featured the title track about Alley, who died of a previously undiagnosed heart condition in 2001 when he was just 38.

When Mal isn’t taking center stage she’s in demand as a mandolinist and bassist across the country.

She kicks off the 21st season of concerts at the Fishstock Concert Series at Camp David Party Barn at 7 pm on July 3. She’ll be followed July 10 by Paper Birds, the captivating folk/ pop group featuring two of Door County’s favorite songbirds, Katie Dahl and Claudia Russell accompanied by Bruce Kaplan and Rich Higdon.

See the complete Fishstock schedule online at, where you can now purchase reserved seating online. You can also purchase tickets at the door.


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