Ponty Bone
LHR 2002
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In the Lone Star State, where the squeezebox pervades the musical landscape, Ponty Bone is an authentic Texas accordion King. He's a master of the instrument who has played with some of the state's most influential artists and infused his instrument and talents into a myriad of popular and roots musical styles, in the process winning an international reputation.

For two decades Bone has led his band The Squeezetones to popularity throughout the Southwest as well as the rest of North America and across Europe, and over seven prior years with Joe Ely helped change the face of country music. He has shared the stage and studio with such varied musicians as punk rock stars The Clash, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, fellow Texas accordion King Flaco Jimenez, country-rock superstar Linda Ronstadt and English rock legend Ronnie Lane.  He's even been name-checked in a book of short stories by noted playwright and actor Sam Shepard. And his resume of musical associations reads like an honor roll of Texas music: Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Terry Allen, Jerry Jeff Walker, Robert Earl Keen, Gary P. Nunn, Omar & The Howlers, both Bruce & Charlie Robison, Terri Hendrix and Timbuk 3, to name some but hardly all.

The keys to Ponty Bone's pervasive accomplishments are an all-embracing musicality and a magical touch that brings deep soul and feel-good vibes to all the music that his accordion graces. Whether he's playing a roadhouse, concert stage, cantina, folk festival, nightclub, college campus or backyard pig roast - just some of the venues where he has appeared - Bone is "the salsa that spices it up," as the Santa Monica Mirror puts it. That's because Ponty Bone is "the Real McCoy of soulful accordion playing," says his fellow squeezebox hero Flaco Jimenez.

The musical magic created by Ponty Bone sparkles and sizzles throughout his new album on Loud House Records, Fantasize. It's a disc that synthesizes such a rich variety of music that Spain's La Hora Del Blues ponders whether Bone is "the creator of a new style that has not yet been invented." On the disc, he draws from rock, blues, Tex-Mex, Louisiana Cajun and zydeco, R&B, country and even Caribbean music and gathers together some of the finest musicians in Austin, Texas (including his Loud House label-mate R.C. Banks). The results are both a master class in the musical universality of the accordion as well as a veritable party encased in a CD jewel box.

Although Ponty Bone has long been associated with such Texas musical nexuses as Lubbock and Austin, he actually hails from the accordion capital of the Republic, San Antonio. He began studying the accordion at five years old and later played the trumpet in his high school marching band. After graduation, Bone spent some time in Houston digging the likes of Lightning Hopkins in the local clubs and accordionists like Clifton Chenier in nearby Louisiana before heading to Lubbock to study architecture at Texas Tech (where he was a classmate of John Denver). He eventually shifted his focus to painting and even sold some of his works before the seductive strains of music captured his imagination.

At the time, Lubbock was breeding a generation of musicians who would later carve out a major niche in Texas music: Ely, Gilmore, Hancock, Allen and Angela Strehli. During a stint in Phoenix, Bone, along with his first wife Sarah, led the popular blues band New Moan Hey while also serving as a way station for his musical friends from Lubbock in their frequent travels to and from California. On landing back in the Lubbock area in the early '70s, he started playing with Lubbock country music patriarch and visionary Tommy Hancock in his Roadside Playboys at the legendary Cotton Club. The association would continue over the years as Bone also worked with Hancock's Supernatural Family Band and the group formed by Hancock's wife and daughters, The Texana Dames (who provide background vocals on Fantasize).

When Joe Ely signed a deal with MCA Records in 1976, he asked Bone to join his band. Over the course of five albums, countless tours here and abroad, and shows, consistent critical acclaim and collaborations with the likes of The Clash and Ronstadt, the Joe Ely Band forged a new brand of Texas country music with Bone's accordion as one of the signature instruments. Eventually relocating to Austin, the Ely Band became a beloved local institution alongside such peers as Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Following the breakup of the first edition of the Ely Band at the end of 1983, Bone stepped up to the plate to form his own band, The Squeezetones. In a fashion similar to the way Ely and company blasted open the boundaries of country music, Ponty Bone and The Squeezetones created an open range for the accordion - an instrument that is often (unfairly) the butt of musical jokes. But in the hands of Ponty Bone, it gained new respect as the band played shows and festivals in Texas, Canada, Europe and Mexico, and released three albums to critical praise: Easy As Pie, My, My, Look At This and Dig Us On The Road Somewhere. Fronting one of the busiest acts on the Lone Star State circuit, Bone proved himself an able singer, songwriter and bandleader. He tapped the rich Austin talent pool for so many noted players that when a Squeezetones reunion was held at Austin's La Zona Rosa in 1992, some 70 musicians were invited to celebrate the band's legacy. And all along, Bone has continued to play and collaborate with his Lubbock mates and Austin contemporaries on shows, sessions and side projects, his name becoming almost synonymous with Texas accordion.

Now, with Fantasize, Ponty Bone has fashioned a capstone to his amazing musical journey and his 20 years leading the Squeezetones. The Austin American-Statesman has already picked it as one of the Austin Albums of the Year, while the disc is also stoking an initial buzz that reverberates from Texas to France, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Germany and Australia.  For as the Austin Chronicle notes, "Listening to a new Ponty Bone album is like getting an invitation to a get-together that turns into a full-scale party." So slip Fantasize into the CD player and get ready to let the good times roll.



Fantasize is Ponty's fourth album. He has recorded with Joe Ely, Robert Earl Keen, Terry Allen, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Hans Theesink, Gary P. Nunn, Jerry Jeff Walker, Bruce Robison, Alejandro Escovedo, and Ronnie Lane.




1. Now's the Time (Do What You Do Best) 5.01
2. Baby, U Got It (Spin the Top) 3.56
3. Ain't Got No Sweet Thing 3.29
4. Midnight Sun (instrumental) 4.13
5. Me, Myself & I 4.15
6. I Must Be Dreaming 3.57
7. Macumba (instrumental adaptation) 4.10
8. Fantasize 3.23
9. Just Like Home 4.13
10. Clifton's Boogie (instrumental) 3.38
11. Louisiana Lisa 3.12
12. Baby, You Know 3.46

Buy Fantasize now from
Lone Star Music

CD Baby


Worldwide Acclaim for Ponty Bone's Fantasize!

I received the new album of Ponty Bone a couple of weeks ago and immediately it become a favorite in my radio shows here: this is in fact a terrific work from a musicians' musician, a man who is really a living legend for his stunning playing with a number of extraordinary artists. But above all Ponty is a performer who represents the quintessence of the Texan roots music and knows like no other one how to condense every typical Texan music form - from tex-mex to rock'n'roll and from country to Cajun music - in his own superb and original music style. Massimo Ferro - RVS Radio - Alessandria, Italy

There are sometimes musicians you feel closer: Ponty is one of these ones. I never met him but, and I don't know why, I have always felt close to his music. The listening confirms my opinion that this guy deserves still more than the recognition he's already received. All the songs are great. Michel Penard - Radio ISA - France

A+++++, splendid in every regard. - Eddie Russell - County Eastern - Columbus, Texas

The Ponty Bone CD arrived yesterday and it hasn't been out of the CD player since. It's bloody fantastic! Thanks. - Eric Black - 101 FM Blue Country - Australia

...as pure 'n real as possible... - Lord Litter Dittmar - Berlin, Germany

I must say that I like it a lot!! It gives me such a nice and warm feeling inside!! I heard some of my favorites like Dr. John, Johnny Guitar Watson, or Sam The Sham, but Ponty's music is a beautiful melting pot of them all!! For my show I selected all tracks, but I already found my Absolute Favorites and these are: 1-3-5-6-7(normally I never play instru-mentals, but this one is so impressive!!)-8-9. Thanks for the once again great gift of music you sent me!! - Ray en Elly Pieters-Dreesens - Belgium

Ponty Bone was the first artist on our shelves nearly eight years ago. This king of the big smile and the happy accordion has released the second CD, on Loud House Records, titled 'Fantasize'. It kicks off with a very Little Feat sound, includes a Blaze Foley cut, three first rate instrumentals, and an excellent original from Spencer Jarmon, who's been backing Ponty for years. - Sue and Mike Donahoe - Local Flavor - Corpus Christi

Great Ponty!!! I love all of his music... 'Baby U Got it' and 'Macumba' are my favorites. - Gerd Stassen - Radio EVW - Lengerich, Germany

Merry C(D)hristmas! Some last-minute gift-giving ideas for the musically minded· Posted on December 25, 2002:· Ponty Bone: Fantasize (Loud House) in which a Texas multi-instrumentalist whose main squeeze is an accordion reminds us bayou dwellers that there are other kinds of fun accordion music than ours. -
Arsenio Orteza - The Times: Acadiana's Weekly Newspaper

I've jammed with Ponty Bone several times on stage and off stage· His versatile style is always energetic and precise· In other words, he and his accordion really communicate. I would consider him the Real McCoy of soulful accordion playing. -
Flaco Jimenez - courtesy of Virgin Records

Fantasize shows veteran singer/songwriter/accordion player Ponty Bone at his best. With great grooves, this recording epitomizes the unique Austin sound, a blend of blues, conjunto, and Tex-Mex, guaranteed to get you on the dance floor with a smile on your face. -
Cam Hayden - Host and producer "Friday Night Blues Party" CKUA Radio Network; Co-Producer, Edmonton Blues Festival

It's pretty impossible to feel sad while this CD is in play.
- Rockzillaworld

The ever-engaging Bone sticks more or less to a live set feel, so his album flows more freely. The Parisian stylings of Johnny Mercer's instrumental "Midnight Sun" are a highlight that will remind even those familiar with his work of Bone's easy mastery of the accordion·
- 3rd Coast Music 

If Texas roots music is a bowl of chips, then accordion whiz Ponty Bone is the salsa that spices it up. On his third album, Fantasize· Bone's accordion sizzles.
- The Santa Monica Mirror

I slip Ponty Bone and the Squeezetones into the tape deck and roll up the tinted window· Things are turned around now· Cruising to the Squeezetones, I set the cruise control dead on 70· I love this open road.
Sam Shepard - Cruising Paradise

Listening to a Ponty Bone album is like getting an invitation to a get-together that turns into a full-scale party. From the opening lines of "Now's the Time," Austin's premier accordion player creates a funky, syncopated sound echoed throughout his Fantasize on songs like "Ain't Got No Sweet Thing," "Just Like Home," and "Baby You Know." When layered between the Tex-Mex sounds of "Baby U Got It," and instrumentals like "Midnight Sun," with its languorous acoustic guitar, and a snaky, sublime belly-rubber called "Macumba," Fantasize turns reality. It should come as no surprise that Ponty Bone's down home style brand of Texas rhythms are so funky and danceable. He's performed with Alejandro Escovedo, Robert Earl Keen, and Ronnie Lane among many others, and hails from the same "Lubbock Mafia" that includes Joe Ely, Terry Allen, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. That puts Bone in some mighty fine company whose influence is particularly obvious on the bouncy "Me, Myself, and I" and the title cut. Like any good party band, the Squeezetones get into the act when guitarist Fred Jarmon steps up to the mike for "I Must Be Dreaming" as the Texana Dames croon along, but no accordion album should be without a tip of the crown to Cajun music. Thus, Bone takes "Clifton's Boogie" for a spin and longs for "Louisiana Lisa," who's "built like a shade tree with four long limbs." Fantasize is so eccentrically Texas in its unique crossbreeding that it's likely to be too eclectic for the masses, but the real problem with invitations like Fantasize is they don't come often enough from Ponty Bone and when they do, the party stops too soon. - Margaret Moser - The Austin Chronicle

When Ponty Bone & the Squeezetones kicked off their first set, the San Antonio-bred accordion icon - the man who helped return the instrument to pop-music respectability through his work with Joe Ely - fused blues, zydeco, Cajun and conjunto for a sound that showed the power and the playfulness of roots music and the subtle talents of the band. Unconcerned about musical boundaries - and secure in his knowledge of the range of his big Italian piano-key accordion - Bone easily moved from his own "Frio City Road Polka" to a cover of Don Santiago Jimenez's classic "Viva Seguin"; from the blues of Memphis Slim to "Don't You Lie to Me" by zydeco king Clifton Chenier and back to originals such as "Flattown Boogie." There's nothing fake, flashy or faddish about the music - or the presentation - of Ponty Bone & the Squeezetones. The man and the band play enduring, endearing Texas folk music with a driving beat." - San Antonio Express-News


Fantasize features longtime Austin artists:

Spencer Jarmon: guitar

Wash Hamilton: bass

Justin Hess: drums

Mike Gersmann: drums

Ed Vizard: sax

Booka Michel: percussion

Traci Lamar, Conni and Charlene Hancock: vocals


Ponty Bone: King Of Feel-Good Music
by C.J. Schoenrock

Lubbock Magazine

In "Cruising Paradise," playwright, actor, and musician Sam Shepard writes: "I slip Ponty Bone and the Squeezetones into the tape deck and roll up the tinted window... Things are turned around now... Cruising to the Squeezetones, I set the cruise control dead on 70... I love this open road."

Cruising to the Squeezetones... to where? to there. where's there? it's here. If it sounds Zen, it's probably Ponty Bone. Not that he's a Buddhist, you understand... this just sums up his philosophy of life. Life is to be met on its own terms. Then it's to be lived and loved and shared with your friends, wherever you are/wherever they are. It's an open road. That's the message of his music. Consider the lyrics to one of Ponty's favorite original compositions, "Easy As Pie:"

"It's easy as pie to skip a few pages when you're leafin' through the book of life, But when the angels come to fetch you, I just hope that they catch you dancin' and romancin'... It's easy as pie. Keep dancin' and romancin'...It's easy as pie."

I met folk-rocker Ponty Bone in the early '70s. He was in his backyard in Slaton, Texas, singing the happy blues with his accordion slung over one shoulder-alternating between flipping burgers on the grill and squeezing out tunes for his friends.

There were others making music there that day-Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock. Jesse Taylor was probably there, too... He usually was. They all had their guitars, the badge of a Lubbock singer/songwriter. But these present-day music icons were not who I remembered when I went home after meeting them all. It was Ponty Bone and his accordion who stole the show for me; it 's Ponty and his accordion who have been stealing the show for me ever since. I've discovered that I'm not the only one.

All these Lubbock musicians have since released albums, made appearances on television and film, brought down the houses in the U.S. and Europe, and been heaped with accolades and awards from around the planet. Jimmie has been nominated twice for major Grammy Awards, Joe has become a true rock icon, revered by musicians as carrying on Buddy Holly's torch of West Texas rock and roll, Jesse is considered the best blues rock guitarist in the world by people like Eric Clapton, and Butch is known as the Poet Laureate of West Texas. They are all musician's musicians. But on that particular day in Slaton, they were all young and hungry and learning, and Ponty Bone was feeding them.

Ponty was the venerable maestro of folk/blues/rock among this stellar group of singer/songwriters from Lubbock. He was a bit older, had a family, some stability. In the mid-'60s, Ponty had moved to Phoenix, halfway between Lubbock and L.A., and their home had been a way-station for these struggling young musicians as they traveled back and forth, chasing fame and fortune... and the romance of music. (There was no major Austin music scene to move to because they hadn't all moved down there yet to build it.) In Phoenix, Ponty was the first to have his own full-time band, New Moan Hey, and in 1968, he and then-wife Sarah, the lead singer, released an LP, Blues Harvest, and a 45 single.

They had regional success, but Ponty saw the vicissitudes of the music business and, in order to keep little ones fed, the need to have a day job. His best gig was as a draftsman, so he moved back to Lubbock. Thus, we find him in the early '70s, flipping burgers, singing the blues, and writing songs like Flat Town Boogie.

Ponty grew up in San Antonio. His dad had him playing the accordion at five, but he rebelled to play trumpet in the high-school marching band, graduating in 1957. Moving to Houston and hanging curtains for a living by day, he listened to Lightnin' Hopkins play the clubs by night. He was in Houston in 1959, the day The Music died. He still remembers that day.

"I loved Buddy Holly," Ponty reflects about the influence on him and his music. "I felt like Buddy Holly and I would have had an awful lot in common." He is probably right. Peggy Sue likes Ponty a lot. And because there is dancing in her genes, she also loves his music. When she first heard his latest CD, Dig Us On The Road Somewhere! her toes started tapping. By the third Squeezetones' tune, Peggy Sue was up on her feet, dancing around the Lubbock Magazine office. Ponty Bone has that effect on people.

When Ponty came to Texas Tech in 1959, a career in music had not yet occurred to him. His passion at the time was art. He enrolled in architecture (a classmate of John Denver) but later switched his major to painting. He was good enough to actually sell some of his work. "There are some Ponty Bone originals floating around out there in Lubbock and Dallas," he acknowledges.

He fell in with a group I call the Philosopher-Gamblers. These hard-luck young men, like Lubbock itself and all it spawns, were an eclectic group. They liked to play poker, but there was no money to be made off each other; so they brought in unsuspecting young fraternity men for "a friendly game." While they worked at bilking the frat brothers out of dad's money, the philosopher-gamblers would discuss art and literature, Nietzsche and Camus, Buckminster Fuller's latest marvels... or football and the price of beer.

In 1964, Ponty met Jimmie Dale Gilmore through Bob Hamer, one of the philosopher-gamblers. "They wouldn't let me play poker because I wasn't good enough," Jimmie recounts, "but they let me sit in the corner and play my guitar and sing."
"At first," Jimmie continues, "they didn't like the songs I knew, and I had to learn the ones they wanted to hear." Bob and Ponty taught him. Ponty wasn't very good at poker, either, so he picked up his accordion and began playing with Jimmie. Ponty soon met Joe, Jesse, Butch, Angela, and all the other Lubbock musicians who later traveled the road between Lubbock and L.A.

After he had returned to Lubbock from Phoenix, Ponty played around town for parties, goat roasts, and weddings (a blues/rock Here Comes The Bride always makes a nice statement). He played some with Tommy Hancock. It was a magical time in Lubbock, with Tommy's Cotton Club jumping, the Flatlanders beginning to form, musicians in and out of Lubbock constantly. Every party was a private concert by the people who were destined to become some of the world's greatest musicians.

In 1973, I left for a teaching stint in North Carolina. At that time, jam boxes were new (it was the heyday of the 8-track), but I bought one and took with me one lone cassette tape... the tape of my going away party at which Ponty Bone and his accordion presided. Yes, it had the bad fiddle and guitar, the washboard, the spoons, the washtub bass, the blues harp, and even a couple of kazoos to distract an ear, but anyone should have been able to hear through the cacophony of sounds to the pure tunes of the accordion.

I would listen to that tape and could just feel Ponty's fingers fly sensuously over the keys, subtly tickling the ivories in ways no piano player could. I shared my tape with my new friends and was laughed out of the room when I steadfastly maintained that someday Ponty Bone was going to be famous.
I came back home to Lubbock eventually (as we all do), and the night Ponty appeared on Austin City Limits for the first time, I was sure to call them up and gloat. I continue to do so whenever I can. I was particularly gratified to call on the night he appeared with Jimmie on Jay Leno's Tonight Show.

As Joe began to put together his original Joe Ely Band, he asked Ponty to be a part of it in 1976. Ponty agreed, quit his day job, and has never looked back. He moved to Austin in 1980, playing with Joe until early 1983 when the band disbanded. There was constant critical acclaim in the national and international press for Ponty and his masterful presentation of hard rock/country/punk accordion when they toured with The Clash and opened for The Rolling Stones and Tom Petty.
Ponty Bone single handedly introduced accordions into rock music and reintroduced them back into contemporary folk music. Newsweek reported in 1978 that Ponty Bone's "accordion playing is a revelation of how hip this instrument can sound." Rolling Stone and Spin magazines joined in that sentiment several times. By the late '80s, there was a proliferation of rock and country accordionists. Ponty had made the accordion not just acceptable, but hot.

In 1982, before the original Joe Ely Band broke up, Robert Marquam, Ely's drummer and Ponty's roommate on the road (since deceased), helped Ponty start his own group, so they'd have gigs in between the Ely tours. Thus was born Ponty Bone and The Squeezetones.

The Squeezetones have been through many incarnations, from their first lineup with Ponty, Robert, Ely bass player Mike Robberson, all from Lubbock, and John X. Reed (lead guitarist from Amarillo who John Conquest of Third Coast Music says is the last living human who can play true Texas rock and roll...but he needs to hear The Texas Bel-Airs and George Tomsco of The Fireballs). The current line-up of The Squeezetones (with Spencer Jarmon on lead guitar, Cliff Hargrove on bass, and Justin Hess on drums) has been together continuously since 1993. They have developed an extraordinary, tight sound. They're great.
In 1992, Austin's La Zona Rosa hosted a Squeeztones reunion, with more than 70 people invited-the guest list reading like a "Who's Who" of the Austin music scene. It included Lubbockites Jesse Taylor, Randy (R.C.) Banks, saxophonist Smokey Joe Miller, and the Texana Dames (Charlene Condray Hancock and her daughters Conni Hancock and Traci Lamar). Lubbock Gen-Xer David Holt, now with Storeyville, has also played Squeezetone gigs on lead guitar. Plenty of people from other parts of the world have joined them, too, including famed British country rocker, Wes McGhee, (with whom Ponty has toured in Great Britain) and the legendary Ronnie Lane (of Small Faces and The Faces, with Rod Stewart) who was the inspiration for The Keepers.

People ask whether Ponty Bone and The Squeezetones are Cajun, zydeco, tejano, country, folk, rock, or blues. The music is all those... and more. I've heard Ponty play everything from bluegrass to classical. When he plays and sings his original songs, it's sometimes hard to tell what it is. But it's always accessible. It's always right there to be danced to, swayed with, smiled at or cried happily over. It's just easier to call his music folk rock.

Like all the other Lubbock singer/songwriters, music stores never know which bin to put him in. It might cost him some gigs or a record deal, but Ponty is adamant. "I'm not gonna tell 'em I'm just zydeco or tejano or blues, but I refuse to say there's not an accordion in the band. As the folk genre changes, I find my music fitting in better with the folk rock category." Or perhaps the folk rock category is just finally catching up with Ponty Bone and the Squeezetones' music.

The recent nomination of Ponty Bone and The Squeezetones for the Kerrville Music Awards' 1997 Band of the Year is indicative of this fit. The nominations for this most prestigious of folk music awards come from professionals in the folk music industry throughout the United States. The featured band at last year's awards ceremonies, they have played to adoring throngs for years at the Kerrville Folk Festival. In recent years, the Squeezetones have played invitationals at Canada's renowned Edmonton Folk Festival, the Blues Festival in Amsterdam, and music festivals in France, Great Britain, and Mexico.

The press and music critics give rave reviews for their albums Dig Us On The Road, Somewhere! (1996, Real World CD), My, My, Look At This (1987, Amazing Records), and Easy As Pie (1986, Amazing Records). Ponty also keeps his fingers in the pie with other bands. Whereas the accordion and the original tunes by Ponty are front and center with The Squeezetones, he plays sideman for the rock group, The Keepers, and the popular band with no name, made up of Jesse Taylor, John Reed and Ponty Bone. Ponty continues to get consistent accolades for his session work. In the Austin music industry, he is on everybody who is anybody's albums.

Ponty's stellar performances have won countless nominations, awards, and polls in Austin throughout the years. He is acclaimed for his musicianship, his singing and songwriting, and his showmanship. Most importantly, I think, Ponty Bone is best known and loved for making people feel extraordinarily good-which is what music at its best does the best.

Ponty's music is uplifting, inspiring, and just flat fun. It is almost impossible to feel down after hearing the Squeezetones. Their performances are at once informal and high energy. Ponty plays a lot of private parties for corporations, weddings, and fundraising events. For a time, he was shipping in crawfish to the clubs he played, especially in Canada, where they had never tasted the succulent Cajun delicacy. That's Ponty... always thinking about what would make the experience better, easier, more pleasurable, more fun.

His involvement with every benefit concert known to mankind is legendary. In Lubbock, he helped make a reality the West Texas Musicians' Homecoming Gospel Sing, launching the C.B. "Stubb" Stubblefield "Feed the World" Memorial Fund to Breedlove Dehydrated Foods in his good friend's memory. In Austin, he is on the entertainment board for Musicians for M.S., to fight against multiple sclerosis, helps raise money for groups for victims of violent crimes and a battered women's center, and he is a regular at the Mardi Gras fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network at Scott and White Hospital. Recently, he was MC for the Save Barton Springs fundraiser And he is always nice, no matter how busy, no matter what his own problems. Need a friendly smile and a cup of encouragement? Ponty Bone is the man to see.

Ponty never wanted an electronic keyboard, even though everyone told him he could market himself better if he would. But he liked the sound of an acoustic accordion, so he held fast. He thinks his stubbornness may have cost him some attention, particularly by labels who thought he wasn't up with the times. No, he's simply a purist. But now... watch out. There seems to be a marriage made in heaven in the works. Look for his new midi-accordion. He can play his squeezebox in the same old way-full open acoustic-but also add other synthesized sounds behind it. "People say, 'Man, you're sounding good!' and they don't know that they heard a sax playing along. It's wonderful," Ponty admits.

Ponty determined early on that he wanted to make the accordion accessible to people. "I work at being a little less excellent and a little more bluesy," he quips. The accessibility factor is why he allows his strap to fall off his shoulder as his eyes close and he plays a slow, blues riff. Next time you watch that strap fall, just see if it doesn't make you want to grab the nearest accordion and play along. Like other maestros, Ponty Bone makes the difficult appear easy and the impossible a reality.

On his more than 15-year-stint here in West Texas, Ponty reflects, "Lubbock is the place that nurtured me musically and yet, gave me a lot of material for blues songs." Regardless of his birthplace, like folk giant Woodie Guthrie, Ponty Bone came of age as a musician here in West Texas-and his soul is pure Lubbock. In fact, Ponty has given us all the quintessential test of whether we are true Lubbockites.

At the West Texas Musicians' Homecoming Bar-B-Que Music Fest last September, Ponty Bone and the Squeezetones were rocking out on Sunday night in front of Great Scott's Bar-B-Que on FM1585. We were all still having fun after a weekend of more Lubbock music than a human being can stand.

As the last group at the Homecoming to play that night, The Squeezetones were on. Ponty's accordion and Spencer's lead guitar were taking rock and roll to a new level when the the law came by to tell us to turn down the volume, even though we were sitting next to a cotton field, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. But Scotty said, "Yes, sir," Ponty just nodded amiably and smiled, and the deputy, satisfied that he'd done his duty (even though absolutely nothing had changed), drove off happily. Ponty kept on playing, shook his head and laughed as if, after 20 years of being gone, it was coming back to him what Lubbock is all about. The music just got louder and he laughed harder till the song was over. He stood there, grinning and shaking his head while the audience was on its feet, yelling for more.

"Ahhh," he chuckled, "Don't you just hate Lubbock?" "YES!!!!" the crowd screamed. "And don't you just love Lubbock?" he laughed. "YESSSS!!!!!!!" the crowed roared. Ponty grinned and then declared. "If you can answer 'yes' to both questions, then you're a true Lubbockite."