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Jack’s Journal: The Accordion

Its heyday seems to have been in the 60s, but this old favorite always brings out the smiles of the folks listening. The accordion is a happy instrument!

There are many versions of an accordion, the Cleveland or Polish tuning. It can be electric or not. It can sound like a piano, organ, even a Hawaiian guitar. But mostly it sounds happy and one gent has been playing professionally since his mid-teens.

“I think that’s most of it. Like I say, back in 50s and 60s, Frankie Yankovic and Myron Floren made it popular. I loved the music they played,” says musician Bobby Atkinson.

The instrument might not be as sleek as a violin or delicate as a flute, but with its air baffles and keyboard and buttons, the accordion makes a statement.

Bobby met his wife out playing a gig one night, so you could say the accordion is the instrument for love, then again maybe not.  Bobby is slowing down a bit, but still likes to get out and play for his fans. The sad news is young people might not be taking it up like they once did.

“Kinda fading out, at least here. Maybe back in Wisconsin and Minnesota it’s still going. Here, dances have slowed up,” explains Bobby.

At least once a year the accordion takes its rightful place at the Cedar Polka Festival at the end of the month!

Bobby is in the Michigan Music Hall of Fame. Whenever he plays, he impresses.