Polka from Ohio? Meet The Chardon Polka Band

Meet The Artist:

I’m Jake from The Chardon Polka Band out of Cleveland, OH. We’re a full time band of musicians that enjoy bringing out polka antics to folks across the USA.

What Gives You The Holiday Feels? For me, a big chunk of the holiday season revolves around music. The first year I had an accordion, I managed to be able to play the melody of Jingle Bells in time for Christmas… and played it for anyone who would listen! Since that time, I’ve always loved sharing music with people around the holiday. As a band, we are extremely humbled that folks bring our music into their homes during this season and include us (via our music) in their holiday traditions.

What can listeners expect from your new Christmas album?

We like to label it as zany, heartfelt, holiday fun. Almost every song has a polka beat. While there are definitely tunes folks will recognize, we tried to find a few Christmas tunes that don’t get as much play and use. We also wrote a couple of our own holiday jams for A Very Polka Christmas; "Christmas Time is Here" and "Andrew The Mailman"

-How has this differed from creating a non holiday album?

Every album we’ve ever done has had it’s own story and process. We created this album almost completely separate from each other during the pandemic lockdown. It was pretty exhilarating, honestly. Typically, we’re all I the same room (studio) and know exactly what the other people are bringing to a song. With making this album, since everyone was doing their parts separate, I never knew what someone was going to do on a song… it made for some really fun and zany surprises along the way! Having your bandmates in the same room is typically imperative for a band like ours. We rely on each-other’s energy and “musical body language” to know what’s going on in a particular song. We don’t really use a lot of sheet music or charts….

For example In a normal recording studio session… I’m going to be able to see my horn player and know where he’s gonna wrap his sax solo… or see that he is switching to clarinet. It was really foreign working without the rest of the crew.

Everyone dumped a lot of energy and creativity into this project.

This whole Christmas album came about as a result of Covid-19. We started working on it in July and wrapped up in October. Those are months that, in a non-pandemic year, we would be on the road. Without traveling cross-county and performing, we still wanted something to do that would be productive and entertain folks. Thus, a new album. To me, this really represents what our band truly believes in at our core…. We believe in music, fun, and creativity; and we have a desire to share that with others. Playing music is how we make money. But the opportunity to do so was pretty much taken away from us this year. Still, the band (every one of us) has pressed on every day and continued making the music we love. It’s been a struggle, but we are dedicated to making it work and bringing music to folks however we can. That, to me, is a big part of what The Chardon Polka Band is about. A Very Polka Christmas is definitely a representation of that. We made it… and yeah I hope we sell a million copies… but even if it doesn’t, we’re happy to think that anyone who hears these songs will enjoy them and the creativity that went into making it happen.

Every album we’ve ever made has had a unique set of challenges. We couldn’t really afford to just go spend a week in the studio (and gosh, I woulda loved that). This one was pretty much self-produced, with our banjo player Mike Franklin in charge of the mixing and mastering.

Christmas, after all, is about love. This album is a labor of love. It’s something we did because our music is something we love and care about… I think folks will hear that in the record.

Oh… and The Chardon Polka Band is Mike Franklin, Jake Kouwe, Mitch Lawrence, and Bob Young!