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Jody Kruskal

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About Jody Kruskal

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    Heavyweight Boxer

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    New York City

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  1. Jody Kruskal

    Porter's Reel

    Last weekend I was in Los Angeles for a wedding and stopped in at David Bragger’s Old-Time Tiki Parlour (www.OldTimeTikiParlour.com) for some tunes with fiddler Susan Platz. Here we are playing Porter's Reel from our dear friends Howard Rains and Tricia Spencer.
  2. Jody Kruskal

    Playing By Ear

    Minds are amazing! The intuitive / musical understanding of music is so different from the intellectual / analytical understanding of the exact same musical thing. Two brains struggling to achieve and reconcile the same artistic results... that's what it's all about for me. The two brains can learn from each other... if they both pay attention. Quite a trick to do in live performance or any time. Still, the integration of both in a single performance is the ultimate of musicality.
  3. Jody Kruskal

    Playing By Ear

    Interesting these concepts of how our brains conceive of music. For me, the part of my brain that thinks of music as being symbols like F#m or middle C is quite different from the part of my brain that listens and hears and plays. Perhaps it's a right/left brain thing. Learning to sing while playing feels like a whole different thing than learning to talk while playing. I've learned both, but in doing so, I'm convinced that the speaking/analytical/thinking part and the singing/playing/listening parts can be reconciled, but only with some mental effort and practice.
  4. Jody Kruskal

    Playing By Ear

    Playing by ear is grand. Do it! Other ways of playing can help you figure out difficult stuff, but it all comes back to your ear and the sound of the music you are making. Listening to your ear is core.
  5. Jody Kruskal

    ‘Thin’ Sounding 4R Push

    Michael - glad to hear that you are getting on with your Anglo. I think you misunderstood me. I was not suggesting that your new Minstrel is junk. Not at all. I had a look on-line and it seems like a fine box. Rather, I was recalling the many times I have picked up a junker in a shop and although the quality and condition was poor, I could still get music to come out!
  6. Jody Kruskal

    ‘Thin’ Sounding 4R Push

    Wow Ted! What a delightful and detailed description of what I do every few weeks or months (or years if lucky). Often It's just a matter of cleaning the offending reeds with paper as you suggest to make them play cleanly and in tune. I prefer paper money for this task. The bigger the denomination the better. $100 dollar bills tend to be crisper and cleaner than ones. Instruments with proper concertina reeds in shoes and slots will afford better access, whereas the waxed in reeds or reeds on a zinc plate can be harder to get to. Still, the process is the same. Find the guilty reed and gently mess with it to clear the obstruction be it fluff or corrosion. This fixes 99% of the problems. As for the OP thin high reed sound. Don't worry too much about it. Someday you might get a better instrument... which will have it's own idiiosyncrasies. The concertina is a gathering of idiophones and though makers try to get the instrument to sound like one thing, that is an illusion or perhaps a goal, depending. Although you can clearly hear that the harmonics, volume and timbre are alarmingly different for your problem note... it is very likely that you are the only one who hears it. If you could step away from your instrument while playing it, the sound would get all mushed up by the environment and the offensiveness of those misguided reeds would pretty much disappear. Remarkably, he concertina sounds quite different to the player than to the audience. Try recording yourself and listen to the result and you will likely hear what I'm talking about. Or perhaps not, as every instrument is different. As always, the performance of your music trancends whatever piece of junk you are playing on. The energy you give to it is the conduit of your soul and the instrument is secondary.
  7. Jody Kruskal

    Cuteness Overload

    Here it is... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAiif-W04Ig
  8. Jody Kruskal

    Cuteness Overload

    It's an Irish polka called: Oh, Those Britches Full Of Stitches This young lass is playing it rather slowly, so the polka beat is more along the lines of Martin Hayes who plays a very moving version, rather more like a slow jig or air. Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jKtCBkxFks Thank you to The Session for the link.
  9. Jody Kruskal

    Wtb......38 Key Bb / F Jeffries

    Nice, I want it!
  10. Jody Kruskal

    Cuteness Overload

    https://www.facebook.com/cuteol/videos/531539553894557/ How to call cows.
  11. Jody Kruskal

    Jody's New Cd Is Almost Ready

    I want to revisit my latest Old Time fiddle and concertina project. Luke and I got two fine reviews for our "Waiting for the Boatsman" recording that I would like to share: The following reviews have been gently paraphrased and greatly condensed: “Music played for its own sweet sake, and very sweet it is, too. Lovely stuff and a real delight!” - Rod Stradling / Musical Traditions, December 2017 http://www.mustrad.org.uk/reviews/boatsman.htm "Kruskal’s skill (on the concertina) creates a wonderful hybrid, one full of a rich palette of tones and a buoyant rhythm that perhaps even a Southern string band would struggle to create. (With his) unique colorings of fairground calliope and ragtime piano qualities, Kruskal becomes almost a blues harp player. A very good recording with lots of variety. Superb!" - Bill Wagner - Old Time Herald, December 2017 Listen to clips, buy the CD or download mp3s here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jodykruskal6
  12. Jody Kruskal

    Bad Habits

    A thought/query from the lower end of the 'ability spectrum'. Apart from the fact that it's clearly a bad habit to be too 'tense' when playing, I wonder if it might also have an adverse effect on health as well as on playing skill/ability. I say this because recently I have been suffering from a very painful right shoulder. This is a hangover from the days when I spent 4-5 hours a day at a computer keyboard, and it's getting to the point where I may have to consider cutting down on my playing time because while playing I feel that I am 'tense' - and it hurts! When I consciously try to 'relax' while playing, the problem is less significant, but I'm finding difficult to do this. It requires a conscious effort to relax, which takes my mind away from the music. How do I train myself to automatically relax while playing? Yoga? Meditation? Tai-Chi? Large shot of single malt? Is it reasonable to expect the ability to relax be beneficial in terms of improving the pain in the right shoulder? Roger PS: I missed DJ's post first time around, but let the question stand... Dear lachenal74693, Long ago, I did some work with a practitioner of Alexander Technique. Very helpful to me and many musicians with issues you describe. A quick search came up with this person near you. http://www.alexanderteaching.co.uk/
  13. Jody Kruskal

    My Dream Gig

    Station Master Kristina was fun to work with at the Train Show. This was just one of many tunes and songs we messed around with. No rehearsal, just informal public performance for five or six hours a day. Sometimes we would have 50 customers and be very busy with the train puppets and wall art. Sometimes zero customers and we would spend our time curating the art on the walls or singing songs for our own pleasure. We came to accept a random cycle of intense activity, and then extreme boredom. What a weird and wonderful gig! Mostly, I played and sang solo and Kristina greeted the new arrivals. When Kristina was free though, there were shakers and spoons, train whistles and hand bells for her to enjoy... joining in on the music and sound effects. It was actually hard work to maintain our energy in the doldrums, in order to be ready for the next influx of excited train children and their families. Often there would be charming small children whose antics and dancing made everyone smile. We did our best to keep smiling, and have a good time for the long haul. What a weird and wonderful gig! ------ Yes, my hand straps have fuzzy sleeves. I sewed them to make it easier on the backs of my hands, where the tendons are just under the skin. I made them a few years ago to deal with a playing related injury and I've grown accustomed to them. My aggressive style, esp. while standing, can be hard on the tendons of my hands and the fuzz adds a cushioning layer that keeps me safe and makes me more comfortable. ------ The Old-Time tune version of "River Stay Away from my Door" (derived from the well known song, as noted) is from fiddler Charlie Knight of North Carolina. Mr. Knight had an interesting take on timing and you can hear him play his eccentric version here: http://slippery-hill.com/M-K/GDAE/G/RiverStayAway.mp3 What brought this tune to my attention was the ear-popping interpretation and musicianship of these folks, Candy and the Canote twins: http://stringband.mossyroof.com/RiverStayAwayFromMyDoor.mp3
  14. Jody Kruskal

    Can You Play Concertina Like Accordian

    "I get that there is a air button but then I'd have to stop playing use the button and continue." Actually, you can use the air button while sounding notes. You don’t have to stop to take a breath.
  15. Jody Kruskal

    Bad Habits

    Hi Faded Ada, I'm self taught too. Bill, that's a good list there! Here's a thought. Set up a mirror so that you can watch yourself play. Notice any contorted postures or weird things you do with your face? This would be extra effort that you don't need. Your body should look and feel relaxed and comfortable and your breathing should be normal. Play with your eyes open and a natural, pleasant expression on your face. Also, here is another bad habit that most of my students struggle with, and that is playing in time. I suggest that in learning a new tune, as soon as you can, try to play without stopping and starting. When you get to the end of the tune, play it again without breaking tempo. Play at one consistent tempo. Play the hard parts of a tune at the same speed as the easy parts. Pick a tempo, no matter how slow, and stick with it. Best of luck with your concertina adventure.