Top Shelf: The Newest Old Band in Polkas by Jim Weber
Polka bands form for any number of reasons: friends who grew up together want to have fun again, musicians find a common thread that binds them, musicians see it as a nice second income — even boredom is sometimes cited as a motivator in getting a group together. But the newest band to appear on the polka scene joined forces to bring a particular kind of music to the forefront, in a manner for which they felt particularly suited, according to Jim Weber, the group’s spokesman.
“In my time with Full Circle, one of the things I enjoyed most was standing next to Lenny Gomulka and hearing him play some of the sweetest clarinet and trumpet in polkas,” he said. “Knowing how much he — and so many other talented musicians like him — enjoy tearing loose on honky tunes, I thought it would be great to put together a group that brought back the honky music of yesteryear, really did that genre justice, and had a great time doing it. Five phone calls later — no one opted out — we had the makings of the group we are calling Top Shelf.”
Bringing a wealth of collective experience to the stage (at this point it’s embarrassing to note the actual years), Top Shelf are Lenny Gomulka, Jackie Libera, Frank Liszka, Al Piatkowski, Larry Trojak, and Jimmy Weber. One of the goals expressed in forming the group was to share vocal duties fairly equally given the array of vocal talent.
“Another was to offer a repertoire which, while featuring its share of standards, will stray a bit off the beaten path,” said Weber. “The bottom line, however, was to bring all of our appreciation for the honky sound to what we hope will be a welcoming audience. And, of course, have fun doing it.”
Top Shelf will be performing at Polka Fireworks – Seven Springs on Friday, July 3rd