Best known as a member of both DeVotchKa and the Denver Gentlemen, accordionist/violinist Tom Hagerman recently released his first solo album, The Breakfast Playground. Named for a children’s playground at a Denver mall, the album showcases Hagerman’s diverse talents through original instrumentals performed almost entirely on his own.
Like the music of DeVotchKa, Hagerman’s songs have a dramatic, cinematic quality, inviting listeners on a journey. The train noises that open “So Tired” lead into a Eastern European melody that makes you think you’ve just stepped off the train in Budapest. The swirling mix of accordion, violin, and piano on songs like “Twice Told Tale”, “Home Again”, and “Charlotte Mittnacht” (which DeVotchKa fans may recognize from their 2004 album, How It Ends) call to mind Yann Tiersen’s Amelie soundtrack.
The Breakfast Playground draws you into a world where toy pianos and children’s voices mingle with soaring violin figures and accordion rhythms. Definitely a world worth escaping (and listening) to.