Archive for January, 2009
I’m very happy to let you know that our Polka Videos Series, PolkaRama is now on our website.
These are TV recordings that we did with our good friends Brian Sklar and the Western Senators in Regina Sask. The first season of PolkaRama has three polka video dvd’s, each containing four TV shows. There’s a lot of good polka music on these dvd’s in addition to a few country selections and standards. And of course, there’s fiddle music by none other than Brian Sklar, who’s one of the finest fiddle players I know.
I’m looking forward to joining Brian and the guys once again in May. I’ll be sure to let you know the exact dates as we get a little closer.
You can find our Polka Videos section by clicking on Polka Videos.
Well, not exactly. My personal accordion is not for sale, but I am happy to tell you that I now have some terrific new button accordions from Strasser, Zupan, Meloija, and more.
We’ve been selling accordions at Walter Ostanek’s Music Centre for years. As many of you may know, my son Richard, manages the store these days. But when it comes to accordions, well, that’s what I know best, and truly love.
I can still remember my very first button accordion as a young boy. What a thrill it was. Maybe that’s why I enjoy helping others select just the right button box, or piano accordion.
Although most of my music is played on the piano accordion these days, my roots go back to the button accordion, and I still love the sound. I always try to include at least one button box polka on each of my albums.
Please check out this cute little video that shows how Strasser button accordions are made.
Just click on: Accordions For Sale.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for a new accordion, or just want some advice, I welcome you to send me an email at: WalterOstanek@Gmail.com.
Till next time,
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences is the organization that presents the Gammy Awards each year. The membership is made up of 10 chapters across the U.S.: Chigaco, Florida, Los Angeles, Memphis, Nashville, New York, Seattle, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Texas, and Washington D.C.
As a member of the Nashville Chapter, I am invited to a Pre-Grammy party for the Grammy Nominees, held in Nashville Tennessee. Many of the top country music artists attend this event each year.
As a huge country music fan, the Nashville Pre-Grammy party is a real thrill. It’s always a very casual event, and usually with a surprise or two. Over the years the party has given me the opportunity to meet such stars as Vince Gill, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, and many more.
What I enjoy the most about this party is the casual atmosphere. Imagine being in a room, surrounded by some of the biggest names in country music, and then discovering that they’re just normal folks like you and I.
Attending the Pre-Grammy party is also a great excuse for me to visit Nashville, and my very good friends, Jack Clement, and Joey Miskulin.
Cowboy Jack, also self proclaimed as the Polka King of Nashville, got his start in the music industry with Sam Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis during the years of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and so many more. This guy is a living legend who has worked with some of the most recognizable names in recording history: Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney, U2, George Jones, Chet Atkins, and far too many more to list here.
I love to hear Jack tell the story of a session at Sun Records with Jerry Lee Lewis:
During this particular recording session, Jack suggested that the guys take a break from the country style material they were working on. They agreed, and to loosen up, Jerry Lee Lewis broke into “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”. Jack quickly hit the record button in the control room, mixed the sound on-the-fly, and the legendary Rock ‘n Roll hit was recorded live with only one take!
Cleveland-Style polka fans of course know Joey Miskulin.
I’m proud to say that we’ve been the best of friends for many years. Joey is a musical genius who at the age of only 13 years, began travelling with America’s Polka King, Frankie Yankovic. Joey, moved to Nashville in 1987, and is a member of Riders In The Sky.
In addition to working almost 200 dates a year, including the Grand Ole Opry, with the Ryders, Joey is a sought after producer in Nashville. Some of his recent projects have been with Alan Jackson, Alison Kraus, Alabama, and John Prine. He’s also worked on some Disney projects such as the movie “Cars”, and “The Wild”.
It’s always fun and very interesting to visit with these two guys.
Here’s some vintage Joey Miskulin from the early 1980’s with the Cleveland All Star Band featuring Paul Yanchar, Tony Vadnal,Al Markic, & Jack “Porky” Ponikvar.
The 51st Grammy Awards will be held February 8th.
Being a Grammy Nominee, it is once again an exciting time in the Ostanek household as the anticipation of the 51st Grammy Awards grows with each day.
This year, I’m grateful to be celebrating my 21st Grammy Award Nomination for “Best Polka Album”. Imagine, 21 years! Where did the time go? I remember my very first Grammy Nomination in 1987 like it was yesterday.
Each of the Grammy Awards shows has provided Irene and me with some very special memories. N.A.R.A.S. is a very classy organization that always puts on a first-class event and the nominees are truly treated like royalty. Because of the Grammys we’ve had the opportunity to mix with many of the world’s most popular celebrities at the various Grammy events surrounding the awards show. Almost everyone is approachable and friendly. This experience alone is worth the hard work it takes to get there, whether you take home the big prize or not. Just being at the Grammy Awards makes it all worthwhile.
One of my very fondest memories is when I got to spend some time with Myron Floren of the Lawrence Welk Show. Myron was not only a world-class accordion player, but he was also a true gentleman. Just a real down to earth nice guy.
Being a pretty positive guy, I’m visualizing, and hoping to place a 4th Grammy Award Trophy on my mantel at home. That would truly be wonderful. At the same time, however, I wish all of the Grammy Nominees in the Polka category, the best of luck. Although we are competitors for the highest honour in the music industry, I have a tremendous amount of respect for all of them, and regard them as friends.
I’d like to thank Walter Ostanek Band followers and supporters for their encouragement and continued support. I’d also like to thank my friends and partners, Jerry Darlak & The Touch, and Bob Kravos, and the boys in the band, for their dedication to this year’s Grammy Award entry, “Back to Back Hall of Fame Polkas”.
I hope you’ll tune in to the Grammy Awards on CBS on February 8th, at 8:00pm (eastern).
I’ve had the plesure of visiting and performing for the wonderful people of Regina Saskatchewan over the past few years. The Casino Regina Show Lounge is a great place to play, but the people are even better. Including the band. Brian Sklar and the Western Senators have played host to my visits each time, and believe me, we have a lot of fun.
We’ll be adding our “Polkarama” polka video series to our website very soon with some clips of these live, fun packed polka shows.
Here’s a preview: