You can’t talk about polka and the Grammys without mentioning Jimmy Sturr. Since the Grammy for “Best Polka Album” was first awarded in 1986, Sturr has won an astounding 15 out of the 20 awards given. While this has engendered jealousy among a few in the polka community, Sturr had no apologies during our exclusive interview back in October:
“I know there are people who are always knocking me; for instance, I read in the paper the other day where someone said ‘Jimmy Sturr should step down.’ (laughs) I will when the New York Yankees do.”
There’s no argument, though, when it comes to his work as a polka promoter; few have tried harder to bring polka to a wider audience than Jimmy Sturr. He has recorded over 100 albums, plays over 150 dates a year (including non-polka venues like Farm-Aid and the Grand Ole Opry), and has a regular show on RFD-TV. In addition to his own excellent band, he has recruited an impressive list of guest artists to record with him. Names like Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, the Oak Ridge Boys, Arlo Guthrie, and many more.
After a pair of rock-oriented polka albums (Rock ‘n’ Polka and Shake, Rattle, and Polka), Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra get back to basics with Polka in Paradise. And, as usual, Sturr brings some guests along for the ride: the “Polish Prince”, Bobby Vinton, guests on the title track and The Jordanaires contribute vocal harmonies throughout.
In a big band like Sturr’s, the accordion can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. That’s not the case, though, on this Polka in Paradise track featuring dueling accordion solos by Steve Swiader and Al Piatkowski:
Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra: Accordions on Fire (MP3 download)
Buy Polka in Paradise by Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra