Be at the Columbia Public Library when Ben Bedford performs. Bedford’s original folk songs deliver intriguing sketches of Americans — our victories and our struggles. Poignant, but never sentimental, his portrait-like songs capture the vitality of his characters and draw the listener deep into the narratives. Bedford has played for audiences all over the United States and Europe. With his fourth album, “The Pilot and the Flying Machine,” he takes the listener on a philosophical, poetic and powerful sonic flight. Free.