“This is not your grandfather’s polka” — US Weekly Magazine
As the first female to win a GRAMMY nomination for “Best Polka Album,” Nashville recording artist LynnMarie is changing the face of polka music. Her musical blending of rock, country and pop with a high-energy performance has garnered her worldwide recognition as an established artist with her fingers on the pulse of what is considered a new generation of polka.
Her expertise as a button accordionist combined with her engaging stage presence and stunning appearance has wowed fans, critics and media alike. Jay Leno, host of The Tonight Show referred to LynnMarie as “the Dixie Chick of polka,” and Austin O’Connor, writer for The Sun, said “undoubtedly the sexiest player to ever strap on an accordion!”
With her new record, LynnMarie + the Boxhounds, she has continued to push the boundaries of traditional polka. The project, produced by Charlie Kelley, features new arrangements of classic polka songs such as “The Tick Tock Polka” and “In Heaven There Is No Beer” as well as newly-arranged songs like “Joy To The World” and original LynnMarie recordings. Also included is a remake of the 1962 hit for Sue Thompson “Norman” and the 1949 smash “Happy Wanderer”.
LynnMarie + the Boxhounds follows 12 other successful recordings. The Polka Record earned her a GRAMMY nomination in 2002 and SqueezeBox in 2000, both for “Best Polka Album.” LynnMarie’s first single, “That’s What I Like About The North,” from the album One Look, became the most requested song on morning shows in the Great Lakes area. She has performed live on the Grand Ole Opry, CNN, CMA Fan Fair, South By Southwest in Austin, and every major festival in between; and, in 2001 and 2002, she was named “Female Vocalist of the Year,” by the International Polka Association…just a few of her many recognitions.
Although she is considered the new face of polka music, her roots in the traditional format run deep. Born and raised in an ethnic Slovenian community in Cleveland, Ohio, LynnMarie was destined to pick up an accordion. Her grandparents immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s and her childhood was rich in Eastern European music and culture. Singing and dancing were a natural part of life, and weekends were spent at the Slovenian National Home (“meeting hall”) where everyone gathered and played music. Her father, an accomplished accordion player and bandleader, was her first inspiration. “As a child, I watched him entertain crowds of people in his tavern. The music made people so happy, and he was happy playing. I knew then that I would be an entertainer, too,” said LynnMarie. Soon, she was on stage and on her way to becoming an award-winning instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter.
By the age of 13, LynnMarie was singing and playing regularly at local pubs, theaters, and festivals across the Midwest. Not only her age, but her instrument of choice set her apart as a performer. The “button box” is a difficult and rare style of accordion, and not, as she says with a smile, “traditionally played by females.” Her incredible energy and vivacious alto voice quickly established her as one of the most sought after entertainers in the Midwest.
Convinced that she could expand polka music beyond its traditions, LynnMarie moved to Nashville in 1994. Collaborating with different musicians and songwriters influenced not only her writing, but her playing and her vocal style as well. She released her first independent album, One Look, in 1998. Guest musicians on the album included the legendary Chet Atkins, Riders In The Sky’s Joey (The Cowpolka King) Miskulin and singer/songwriter Gary Chapman.
In the fall of 2000, LynnMarie Christmas was released followed by the release of SqueezeBox, through Madacy Entertainment Group. Following the Grammy-nominated SqueezeBox, she released All Over It, in 2001. The record covered a wide variety of styles that pushed the limits of the accordion. One of the highlights was a duet with country music singer/songwriter Hal Ketchum, which she performed with Ketchum on the Grand Ole Opry.
In 2003 LynnMarie toured throughout the United States backed by her ‘rockin’ band The Boxhounds. Lead by producer Charlie Kelley on guitar, the foursome gave LynnMarie fans just what they came to see—a high-energy performance on the cutting edge of this musical genre.
Today, she is one of the most recognized and accomplished artists in her genre. As she travels the world, she is still amazed at the loyalty of her fans, the new fans she turns on to polka music and the many people who continually say to her, “I didn’t know you could do that with an accordion!”