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NEWS & EDITORIALS


 

Goodbye to an Old Friend
October 6, 2019



Samson Vogt





2019 Oktoberfest in Tinley Park, IL
September 8, 2019




We're proud to have been the Saturday night headlining band for this event, which we estimate drew around 2,000 people — the largest crowd for which we've played to date. If you're looking for a spectacular Oktoberfest with everything but you can't quite get to Munich, the
Oktoberfest in Tinley Park, Illinois is the best thing!





Polkasound Studio Closing Its Doors

September 1, 2019


After thirty years of being in service, Polkasound Productions will be closing its doors to the public. The sharp decline in polka music sales over the last ten years has rendered professional studio recording economically unviable for most local bands. The studio will not be dismantled, but in April of 2020, it will become private for the exclusive use of Tom Brusky LLC.
 
Public notice to all past clients: Polkasound has shelves of multi-track studio projects on 1/4" reel-to-reel, 1/2" reel-to-reel, Super VHS, and IDE hard drive, as well as DAT and bin-loop duplication masters. YOU OWN THESE RECORDINGS, NOT POLKASOUND. If you want to save your recordings, you must take possession of them before April, 2020. Please
email to arrange for pickup. Recordings not collected will be destroyed. (Note: I do not have the capability to transfer music from these older formats to newer formats.)





Unauthorized Use of My Image and Musical Performance Gets Polka Artist's CD Pulled

August 25, 2019


There is a Wisconsin polka accordionist who recently released an album of live music tracks. I will not reveal his name, but only say that he is a young, up-and-coming bandleader. Musically, he has a ways to go yet, but he is a likable, ambitious musician nonetheless. Since he was a teenager, he has been receiving support and encouragement from some of the best musicians and bandleaders in the business. Occasionally, the support he receives is in the form of talent. To give him a boost, established A-list musicians and bandleaders have performed with him on stage, sometimes as a paid sideman, sometimes gratis.

Earlier this summer, I played a job with him on drums. I've done it before. It's a small concert in a small town on a Monday night. I'm happy to have played these jobs, but I always played them under one very strict stipulation: no recording of the performance could be commercially distributed (made available to the general public.) I reminded him of this stipulation several times, which he acknowledged and clearly understood.

The other day, I discovered that he took audio from the concert, which he recorded on his phone, and commercially released it as an album on CD Baby. My photo was on the album cover as a member of his "band." Even though he was explicitly forbidden to do that, he did it anyway.

CD Baby has since removed his album from their website, and he has been instructed to remove the album from his Facebok page.


To use a musician's likeness and recorded performance for commercial gain without their consent is a violation of professionalism, but sometimes it's a mistake made by young musicians due to ignorance. To use a musician's likeness and performance against their express wishes, however, cannot be regarded as a mistake. It is a willful, flagrant betrayal of trust.

I harbor no ill will toward this young bandleader, yet, I must protect my rights as a professional musician. I will no longer perform with him, and I also must caution all other Wisconsin bandleaders and musicians that if you perform with him, it is at your own risk, because you may end up an unwitting, unwilling and unpaid session musician on his next album.

Bandleaders and musicians who need additional information are welcome to email me.





Three Original Christmas Songs Slated for December Release

August 20, 2019


I've been busy writing and producing three new songs for the Christmas season. All of them are in the same genre of music, but from different eras: the 1970s, the 1990s, and today. I'm not revealing at this point which genre of music it is, except I'll say that it's not polka. Each song will feature an amazing vocal performance from a different professional singer.

I don't have a specific release date set for the songs, but I aim to roll them out between Thanksgiving and Christmas. When the songs are released, you'll be able to hear them in their entirety on my website's music page, where you'll also have the option to purchase and download them. You'll also find them on all the major music download and streaming subscription services.

Speaking of my music, there are still some Positively Polka CDs available from the Mollie B Store. The album is barely more than a year old, but only a handful of CD copies remain. CDs will not be reordered after they've sold out. Due to CDs becoming obsolete, Positively Polka is my last album to be released on compact disc.

Incidentally, I saw that the album was included on the ballot for the 2019 National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame awards. I'm grateful it was considered for inclusion, however, I encourage all my friends and fans who are voting members to vote for another album on the ballot, not mine. An award given to me would be an award wasted, because I create music purely for the love of creating music, and the only awards for which I strive are the smiles and compliments I receive from people who enjoy my music. Trophies and plaques are best served going to musicians who proudly view and display them as symbols of achievement. I'm just not one of those musicians.
 
I ran into Joey Miskulin at a function a few months ago, and he took the time to acknowledge a song I wrote and share some high praise about the arrangement. That conversation was worth more to me than an entire wall full of Hall of Fame awards. Compliments like that are what encourage me to keep making music. Plaques and trophies can't do that.





Polka Music vs. Pop Music

July 17, 2019


There are lots of reasons why I've added the production of contemporary music to my repertoire. Here are 8,427 of them:





 
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