Hey, I’m in a Video!

For those who don’t know, in most music videos, what you hear is not actually being produced by what you’re seeing. The audio is usually from the actual studio recording, created separately and well in advance. When the video is shot, the musicians are simply playing along (or maybe even miming and not producing any sound at all) as the recording blasts from speakers somewhere as a timing reference. The different takes and camera angles are then edited together, the original recording is dropped in as a soundtrack, and voila! There’s your video.

Well, I was recently called up to play in a music video for the Nashville Celts, a local band that I’ve played accordion with a few times before. In this case, the main song we were to shoot already had accordion on the recording, played by the very talented session ace Jeff Taylor. (A surprising number of Nashville accordionists are named “Jeff” for some reason.) I like to think that I was picked for the video because I’m so photogenic, but I suspect it was really because I will work for much cheaper than any of the other Jeffs.*

Anyway, after we finished all the takes for the first tune, we still had time for another quick video. On this other song there was no accordion at all. But hey, I was there, so why not fill in some space? I brought a concertina with me, which seemed to fit the vibe of the song.

The end result is a video with me playing a concertina you can’t hear**, on a song that doesn’t even have concertina on it, from an album another accordionist played on in the first place.

But it’s a good tune and worth a look if only for that:

* Or is the correct plural “Jeves”?

** Except in the very beginning, where I’m trying to figure out how the thing goes…

Irish Underground

Looking for a unique way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day weekend? Why not come and spend a Saturday afternoon 333 feet below ground in a cave?

Bluegrass Underground Cave Photo

Yup, a freakin’ cave! How cool is that?

My friends the Nashville Celts will be putting on their trademark rousing show of Irish music and dance in the “volcano room” at Cumberland Caverns, as part of the Bluegrass Underground concert series.

They’ve once again invited me to join them on accordion. It should be a blast!

Tickets are apparently going fast, so grab ’em while you can.

Upcoming: Accordion at the Nashville Jazz Workshop

njwsignThis Thursday, 12/10, I’ll be bringing my accordion and sitting in with the Nashville Jazz Workshop Trio, backing up the students of Christina Watson’s “French Chansons” class. This is sort of the “final exam” part of the class, where the students get to perform what they’ve learned in front of a real, live audience.

If last week’s rehearsal is any indication, it’s going to be a very cool show. The set list is full of classic French jazz standards such as La Vie en Rose, La Mer (“Under the Sea”), and Sous la Ciel de Paris (“Under Paris Skies”). And they’ll all be sung in French!

Details are at NJW’s website. It’s open to the public, completely free, and BYOB. So grab a bottle of Bordeaux or Burgundy and come on down. J’espère te voir là-bas!


photo credit: Scott Hammaker

Tour Diary: Sittin’ in with the Celts

Last weekend I was invited to bring my accordion and join The Celts for their marvelous Celtic Roots of Great American Music show at the Missouri Theater in St. Joseph, MO. It was a great opportunity to play all sorts of fun Irish, Scottish, bluegrass, country, and pop music.

I managed to take a few pics along the way…

Bella Notte

Wedding season rolls on! This past weekend I had the pleasure of playing accordion during an Italian-themed reception dinner.

Never mind the fact that my accordions are all German and that I myself am about as Italian as a haggis… When you’re strolling among tables of pasta and red wine while playing classic Italian songs like “That’s Amore“, “Volare“, “O Sole Mio“, and “Funiculì, Funiculà“, you can’t help but get caught up in the spirit of it all!


“Black Beauty” (a full-sized accordion that I usually play sitting down) and “Red Baron” (a smaller and lighter one I use for strolling) await their turn to be played.

It’s Wedding Season!

Look closely (on the right) and you’ll find yours truly warming up in the shade.

May marks the beginning of wedding season, even for accordion players! I was able to kick things off in style with a beautiful wedding at the Old Natchez Country Club.

Tuning UpEven better, I was joined by this violinist I just so happen to know–my wife Anne Landis Jetton.

We were asked to play the prelude music, the ceremony itself, plus the cocktail hour afterward.

These sorts of job are always a lot of fun, because it gave us the opportunity to play everything from Beethoven to Dean Martin, with some French waltzes and Argentine tangos thrown in for good measure.

The AV Department

Another successful gig for “The AV Department”. (A for accordion, V for violin!)

Kiddin’ Around at Nashville’s Musician’s Corner

Kidsville Marquee

One of the great things about Nashville is how the city really embraces its “Music City” identity. Case in point is Centennial Park’s “Musician’s Corner”.

Inspired by London’s Speaker’s Corner, it’s an free event occurring each week in the spring and fall that presents a diverse bill of music to the community. Add in food trucks, a beer garden, local artisans selling their wares, activities for kids (and even for dogs!), and you’ve got yourself a great way for the whole family to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Yesterday I was given the opportunity to appear at their “Kidsville” tent to play and demonstrate the accordion. I even brought one of my old, broken accordions, so I should show everyone what the “guts” of an accordion looked like, and how everything worked inside.

Kidsville Table

Accordion Demo

Safe Parking

Three cop cars nearby? Yeah, I think it’s safe to leave my accordions in the car this time…

Afterward I got to sit back in the shade and enjoy a couple of hours of great music on the main stage from the likes of Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, The Brothers Comatose, and Over the Rhine.

All in all, not a bad way to spend the weekend!


Update: Here are some more pix from the day, courtesy of photographer Jon Karr.



When the Lights Go Down in the City…

You know that wonderful old Steinway grand piano in the drawing room of the Cheekwood mansion? The one with the little sign telling people not to touch it? Well I got the chance to play it for four hours this past weekend, during one of the First Tennessee Fridays they’re having in conjunction with Bruce Munro’s sprawling outdoor art installation, LIGHT.

Playing at Cheekwood

The guests that passed through to listen were wonderful. I had some great requests, heard a few people singing along, and even got a few couples up and dancing!

The bad news is that LIGHT is in its closing week. The good news that, until the last day on the 10th, Cheekwood is open every night until 11:00pm. Check it out while you still can!

Wedding Gig!

I always enjoy playing weddings. There’s just something about being a part of such a significant moment in people’s lives that makes it more than just a “typical gig” This past weekend I was hired to play piano (sadly, not accordion) for a post-ceremony reception, and it was extra-special for two reasons:

Hermitage Lobby

First, it was at the marvelous Hermitage Hotel here in Nashville.

Over a century old, the Hermitage ranks among the great “grand” hotels of the South and is a perfect spot for a wedding. Getting to play a grand piano with a view of that historic, beaux-arts lobby was a real treat.


Jet Set QuartetSecond, my wife’s string quartet was providing the ceremony music!

Anne Landis stays booked with weddings pretty solidly these days, whether it’s as part of a quartet, trio, or as a solo wedding violinist. But I don’t get too many chances to see her on the job.


It was sort of like a “take your husband to work” day…

Jettons at the Piano


Scenes From Amber Falls

The gig yesterday was my first trip out to Amber Falls Winery, which turned out to be a very charming little spot. Just the place for a weekend picnic, tucked away in the hills of Middle Tennessee.

I thought I’d share a few pics I took during the breaks…

Amber Falls Winery

A winery with a sense of fun… I like it!

Amber Falls Winery -- Stage View

This was my view. It was a hot afternoon, but the shade and the fans made it plenty comfortable.

Amber Falls Winery -- Vineyard

And yes, it is a working vineyard…