Accordion Revolution: A People's History of the Accordion in North America from the Industrial Revolution to Rock and Roll
Before the dawn of rock 'n' roll, the accordion ranked among North America's most popular instruments. Nearly every ethnicity on the continent played the squeezebox- Irish, Scottish, French, German, Eastern European, Jewish, and Latino. The instrument packed barn dances, jazz clubs, and recital halls. It was heard in cantinas on the Mexican frontier, Creole string bands in New Orleans, and Inuit square dances above the Arctic Circle. Portable, cheap, and loud, accordions became the soundtrack for modernity as the growing music industry exploited them on records, radio, film, and television.
Millions of people played accordions until a disastrous combination of economics, demographics, and electronic instruments nearly erased them from mainstream culture. Emerging from exile for a new generation, this book invites beginners or seasoned accordionists, and music fans in general to rediscover a forgotten legion of little-known artists. With an eye for colorful characters and a sharp sense of humor, accordion historian Bruce Triggs uncovers the hidden backstory of the squeezebox in everyone's closet. Accordion Revolution is about more than an instrument: it's a living, breathing restoration of the squeezebox to its rightful place at the roots of North America's popular music.
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"A rollicking journey that enhances the joy of the instrument I hold in my arms every night!"
Jenny Conlee, The Decemberists
"Bruce Triggs gives the accordion the scholarship it deserves, demonstrating its overlooked, yet important impact on our music history."
Krist Novoselic, Giants in the Trees, Nirvana
"Given the general, pretty much universal level of mockery of the accordion, this a book that I never thought I'd see written. Well done."
James Fearnley, The Pogues
"Accordion Revolution is an inspirational guide to the accordion's deep and shadowy past."
Skyler Fell, Accordion Apocalypse Repair Shop
"A worthy redemption for an instrument that has always been far more beautiful and complicated than its reputation might have you believe."
Brooke Binkowski, accordionist and award-winning media fact-checker
"I give it five out of five bellows-shakes."
Renée de la Prade, producer, Accordion Babes Pin-Up calendar