The big guy from out West and larger than life energy (he’s also 6’5’) performer, guitarist, singer, banjoist, songwriter, composer, entertainer, musical historian and teacher Mitch Polzak wears his heart on his sleeve and his playing in his heart.
Polzak performs rockabilly and 60’s country music with the religious fervor of Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash and delivers a Honky Tonk ballad with the sincerity of Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. Mitch will bring a room to a fevered pitch of joyous energy on the dance floor and then tell you a story in a song like two old friends sitting at a kitchen table at midnight.
His virtuosic guitar skills and influences range from the blazing flying fingers of Joe Maphis , Marty Stuart, Roy Clark, and Don Rich to the timeless dreamlike state of “Sleepwalk” by Santo and Johnny along with the vast valleys of deep rumbling twang associated with Duane Eddy.
There is not one singular definition of Polzak’s music but that is very specific to what he does. Being fluent in the musical languages of Country, Rockabilly, Honky Tonk, The Bakersfield Sound, Surf, early Rock and Roll, Bluegrass, Cajun, Blues, and Truck Driving music gives Polzak the unique voice of the melting pot of the American musical experience. This is why he consistently connects with so many people directly at every show.
Polzak’s abundant joy in communicating with people through music leaps off the stage through every fiber of his being. His near-constant genuine smile can be seen clear across the room and invites you in without any pretense or judgements. Some call him “The Honky Tonk Mister Rogers”!
Make no mistake though. Underneath that smile is a deep and reverent respect for the history and integrity of the music and musicians who came before him and created the sounds and told their stories.
Just as Waylon Jennings created his own outlaw sound, as Johnny Cash could never be put in a box, the full throttle intensity of Jerry Lee Lewis’s rock and roll grabs us and takes to a time and place, Polzak’s live show has the unvarnished purity of the Bakersfield Sound paying homage to his California musical heroes Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Wynn Stewart and Dwight Yokam. It’s a heaping helping, but a Mitch Polzak show brings all of these musical flavors to the table in a potluck of American musical flavor.
Polzak learned firsthand from some of his musical influences, sharing the stage with legends like Don Maddox of The Maddox Bros. and Rose, deeply respected contemporary and friend Deke Dickerspn, The Ragin’ Cajun Doug Kershaw, Rockabilly icons Joe Clay and Gene Summers, former Bluegrass Boy and West Coast music pioneer Peter Rowan and Cajun greats Jimmy Breaux, Andrew Carriere, and Blake Miller. He has also shared the bill with Brian Setzer, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, The Stray Cats, Big Sandy and The Fly Rite Boys, and Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives.