Joe DeLucia frequently uses air quotes when he talks about folk music.
A lot of people have preconceived notions about that genre of music, he said.
"People think folk music has to be either somber or politically charged," said DeLucia. "What I love about folk music is that it covers a gamut of emotions. One song can make you cry until you embrace your loved ones, and another song can make you laugh until you cry."
It is DeLucia's passion for music that continues to drive the Wisconsin Singer/Songwriter Series, a musical staple of Ozaukee County now in its 25th season of concerts.
The concept for the Singer/Songwriter Series was formed by DeLucia, a self-taught guitarist who didn't perform live until the age of 25. He frequented small venues in Milwaukee for several years until the folk music scene declined in the city.
DeLucia settled down with a family and found work as a structural steel detailer. His love for music was never derailed, however, and by 1992 he decided to create an organization dedicated to producing concerts for singer/songwriters.
Since then, the Wisconsin Singer/Songwriter Series has attracted popular folk singers like Ronny Cox, Tom Paxton, and Chuck Pyle (whose "Dream Song" is a personal favorite's of DeLucia's). Concerts were held at the Cedarburg Cultural Center until 2008, when the series was moved to its current home at Unitarian Church - North in Mequon.
DeLucia takes great pride in making sure that the Singer/Songwriter Series is an entertaining and enriching experiences for audiences, and that requires a specific attention to detail. That means not only bringing in a wide range of acts, but also ensuring that the sound quality at the Unitarian Church is top-notch.
"First and foremost, this is a listening experience," DeLucia explained. "Our artists put a lot into creating their music, so we want to put just as much effort into how their music is presented."
The 2016-17 season at the WSSS continues through May and will feature acts like Bonnie Koloc of the Chicago folk music scene (Jan. 21) and Dan Navarro (Feb. 10), former songwriter for Pat Benatar and cousin of Dave Navarro.
After 25 years of concerts, DeLucia remains dedicated to providing Ozaukee County with quality folk music.
"In our history, we've only cancelled two shows. One was for a snowstorm, and the other was for a Packers playoff game," joked DeLucia. "Folk music remains so important because it is a reflection of real aspects of life, both good and bad."