Fans of the high energy “Chicago Push” Polish polka style were overjoyed late last year when polka legend Lenny Gomulka & Chicago Push released Save The Music (Push Records), the band’s first album in seven years.
Not coincidentally, Gomulka’s little son Teddy is seven years old.
“All my spare time and attention has been focused on Teddy, who incidentally is on the CD,” says Gomulka.
Indeed, the track “Ra Ta Ta” is sung by the little guy, who's also pictured on the cover with his proud papa.
“Where he got it, no one knows!” says Pops of the "Ra Ta Ta" tune. “But I turned his little jingle into a song.”
For his part, the old man wrote the life lesson-filled "Always Be A Gentleman" for his young son.
“Hopefully the lyrics of this song will ring in Teddy's ear long after I'm gone and maintain his moral compass in life,” says Gomulka, adding, “through the years I've written a few songs for my daughter Gina and for my wife Estelle that I also hope they'll remember me by as well.”
Not that the South Side Chicago native’s going anywhere, that is, anywhere besides the many polka festivals and one-nighters in-between filling up his 2014 concert calendar—not to mention the Chicago Push tour of Southern Poland and Vienna, Sept. 25-Oct. 5.
But the longtime western Massachusetts resident—and composer of the Official Polka of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts "Say Hello to Someone In Massachusetts"—is conscious of his mortality, though not morbidly so.
“The song ‘All My Friends are Gettin' Old’ was meant to bring a smile to our middle-aged fans,” says Gomulka, who reveals, “I was uncertain if I could get away using the word ‘testosterone’ in a polka song, but it worked.”
The inventive lyricist’s “Rose Colored Glasses,” meanwhile, is obviously aimed lovingly at his late buddy, mentor and former employer, the great Eddie Blazonczyk, who always wore said rose-colored glasses.
“It was easy to pen,” says Gomulka, noting his enduring friendship with Blazonczyk, in whose Versatones band he served for many years prior to striking out on his own.
"Otherwise, this CD is what I consider ‘back to basics,’" says Gomulka.
“Polka is evolving, true, but in some ways not to the liking of the polka purist. This new CD brings a settled-down approach to the music and to the dynamics--and it’s loaded with 12 originals out of the 15 songs. The polka public has gotten my ear with their request for new rather than cover tunes.”
As he notes, Gomulka reaches “a widespread demographic of fans who are active and reliable/dependable in coming out to events.”
“So I cater to them--top priority,” he says. “I'm capable of getting very edgy and progressive with my music, but is this what the active fans really want? The answer is 'no,' so I kept this album in tune with their taste. I'm after consistency, longevity and loyal fans.”
As ever, Gomulka is also after “illustrative, heart-warming, motivational, happy lyrics and correct music.”
“The title ‘Save The Music' says it all,” he explains. “In a sports-dominated world, music has fallen behind, so it needs to resurge into everyone's life. It's good for the mind and for the soul, it's entertaining--and it makes this world a better place.”
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