Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Link of the Day: All About the Accordion

Paul Grant, author of the forthcoming Blessed Are the Uncool, is all about the accordion these days. His two most recent posts are exploring the cultural phenomenon of cool in ways that brush up against accordion playing. Post one includes an insightful deconstruction of the Weird Al Yankovic video "White & Nerdy," which I keep making my wife watch because it's so dang funny. You can watch the video while reading Paul's stinging critique. Post two picks apart a USA Today profile of some youth in middle America who are learning the accordion as a means of carrying their ethnic heritage forward. Shame on them, suggests the author of the article. Shame on the author, suggests Paul.

I happen to own an accordion; I thought they were decidedly uncool until I heard REM use one--and then Jars of Clay, and then Counting Crows, and then the Decemberists. Turns out, as Paul points out, that the accordion was there at the beginning of rock n roll, in the tail of Bill Haley's Comets.

8 comments:

David A. Zimmerman said...

I neglected to mention that Weird Al is relevant to this post because of his personal mastery of the accordion; his polka medleys belong in the rock n roll hall of fame. That being said, so far as I know there is not an accordion featured in "White & Nerdy." How unfortunate.

Anonymous said...

Dave,
How easily you have forgotten that some of those closest to you from before birth and since played the accordian. In fact, I am sure that it was offered to you when you started your musical explorations.

David A. Zimmerman said...

I haven't forgotten. I got my accordion from just one of those closest to me. I posted about accordion concerts at the farm at Paul's blog, which I again encourage you all to visit.

Much love. Much respect. Viva l'accordion!

Pete Juvinall said...

Worst use of an accordian: a synthpop band.

My buddy and I went to go see a synthpop festival in Cinci. a few weeks ago and the most horrible band there actually implemented an accordian. It just didn't work for me.

Best use of an accordian in an album:

Counting Crows - August and everything after. I just adore that disc...

Craver VII said...

Any disdain for the accordion is clearly of a rebellious nature. After all, wasn't it said of the first century church, that they all had one accordion? Yeah, I'm sure it's somewhere in the book of Acts.

Pete Juvinall said...

Actually thinking through my CDs and tracks, there are a number of accordion players out there. Vigilantes of Love's first few CDs had accordions all over them...

locutus est said...

The Onion's 2004 review of the movie Dodgeball said: "This is a movie pitched only to people who find the idea of a movie about dodgeball instantly hilarious". In the same vein, and in spite of my best intentions, I still find accordions inherently funny.

And I don't think they'll ever replace guitars as cultural icons. No one slings and accordion over his back and hitchhikes to Nashville.

But I have had great times dancing to accordion music. Maybe that's the whole point, anyway.

mike d said...

hi, i was wondering if you know what kind of accordion (brand, make, style, etc) that is used on COunting Crows first album (like Omaha) or on songs like One more December, etc?
There is also a similar sound on Cowboy Junkies' cover of "powderfinger" on Caution Horses...Anybody know what the standard make is for that high, tremelo sound? Thanks
Mike D