July sure has been a month so far….. after a few days at home with Zoey showing us all of her new moves, new words and preparing us for the terrible 2s, I was back off to work….
Polka Freak Out made their first appearance (notice the inclusion of “first” as I hope it is to be repeated!) at 7 Spring Polka Fireworks. It was great to see some of my friends from the Polish polka world that I rarely get to see, as well as meet some of the great musicians I’ve admired from afar for a long time. It was a daunting opening as Tony’s Polka Band had the crowd jamming right before us… and well, we’re not a Polish band… therefore there was probably some skeptical trepidation from a good portion of the audience… Luckily, Hank Guzevich tuned up the sound system pretty quickly and had us off and running… the audience responded enthusiastically, even if they weren’t dancing– luckily, Dennis Polisky and the Maestro’s Men gave them the straight up rocking Polish dance beat alternating with us….
Overall it was a blast hearing Blazoncyck’s Versatones, Dynabrass and Pan Franek as well as playing for a fun polka audience….
From there- it was a late night drive back home and reload with the Alex Meixner Band to head back to Kimberley, British Columbia.. Although a scheduing mixup caused us to be unable to adjudicate the competitions, it was great to be back to entertain in the Wednesday concert. Don Lipovac wowed everyone with his accordion mastery as the opening act. At age 72, he continues to inspire me with his pure musicality and absoulte humility– constantly striving to achieve higher levels of performance… amazing! Then, we went on– Matt Tolentino, Matt Zebroski and Dad (back on stage for this tour) really put it all together for a fun show. Zebar even made his accordion debut in front of the entire arena audience! I think he has a future in this….
Don joined us for a finale- and I got a good accordion lesson on stage, as always from the master…
From there- it was on to Butte, MT- where we performed at the National Folk Festival. I can’t begin to say enough about the hospitality of the people in Butte. Everyone was so friendly and proud of their town hosting this mammoth event– and they deserve the recognition!! This was my first work in this circuit and I look forward to the continuing collaborations with other artists and the staff that shows respect and appreciation for such a wide variety of talented artists…
So many new friends were made that it’s hard to single any out– but, suffice to say that I have lot’s of practicing to do on Bulgarian music after meeting Milen and Kalin…. On the opposite side of the world, but totally grooving on his own is Nathan Williams of the Zydeco Cha chas— who totally showed how to whip a crowd into a dance freindzy….Then, it was just a totally awesome irony to meet a conjunto from Washington headed up by the brother in law (and including the father) of one of my favorite musicians- Joel Guzman– Juan, Andy and the crew are top class individuals that I’m proud to now say our friends too! Well— i’m off to get some sleep before the next round of driving– homeward bound….