KEN PICKARD and ZYDECO EXPLOSION
From the desk of Ken Pickard: "I am a third generation of accordion playing Pickards from Coupeville, Whidbey Island, Washington. Grandfather Moe, who came over from the old country at age 12, and Father Herb, born and raised in the family general store, Prairie Center Mercantile
Playing klezmer in Prague
in front of the oldest synagogue in Europe in Coupeville, both taught me to play starting when I as 5 years old. Moe Played piano and Herb and I accordions at most family gatherings. I have played many instruments including horn, blues harp, piano, and bass guitar but decided to concentrate on accordion because I play that best, and there aren't many piano accordion players.
"I played a stretch with The Shalom Ensemble, a Seattle band led by Rabbi Jim Morel of Bellevue, Washington, a Klezmer (Eastern European Jewish Folk Music) band and various bluegrass groups including Maggie and The Older Boys led by Margaret Storer, Buelgrass and The Prairie Ramblers led by famous bassist Buel Neidlinger, and I currently play Eastern European Folk Music with Kimmer Morris of Langley, Washington on violin, Yours Truly, and then there is Kenworth and The Zydeco Dumptrucks during the summer months up north in B.C.
"I have just finished a small town lawyer/environmentalist career and am concentrating on raising my wonderful son Aaron, music and sailing. The reason I started Zydeco Explosion was to inject more fun into my life. As my Dad was slipping into dementia, I asked him if he had any regrets about his life. His only regret was that he stopped playing music for dances.
Jude Taylor, My Grandpa Moe and Dad Herb played dances at Grange Halls in Island, Skagit and San Juan Counties. After he died I asked my Mom about his regret and she related her experiences of tagging along with the band and having to dance with all the "weirdos," and also did not like Herb out with the boys. So I guess my Dad honored my mom's wishes and it turned out for him to be a regret. I decided right then to keep a lot of music in my life. Our band is getting quite hot in my view and I can't wait to play for you all and get you rocking.
Kimmer Morris and Ken Pickard as Yours Truly"I started playing Zydeco about 7 years ago when I came under the teaching of Jude Taylor of Jude Taylor & His Burning Flames from Grand Coteau, Louisiana. We met at the Centrum Blues Festival in Port Townsend, Washington where I was his "best student." I immediately went and stayed with Jude and Annie and it took off from there. Jude is now one of my best friends. As Jude says, 'We're carbon copies. I'm just a few shades darker.'
"Playing a hot dance makes me feel better than about anything. The exchange of energy between the dancers and the band must supercharge my endorphins. After the Louisianathon I was high for a week.
See you at the dance."