Child prodigies can become ‘stuck’ between a world where they were always a delight, and the adult world, more critical and less forgiving, where success is hard-won and failure is far more probable. While Joey Miskulin could still be that cute kid at heart, in the real world, he never lost his vision as a professional as he rose to become a performer, arranger and producer, with an extraordinary career spanning more than 40 years. In 2018, piano accordionist Joey Miskulin was honored for his accomplishments with his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the first accordionist since Pee Wee King to receive the honor.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Joseph Miskulin was associated with musical performance and the piano accordion from the age of five. With his accordion, Joey was very popular and performed often at picnics and events. At eleven, he joined a band and at twelve, he cut his first record which was brought to the attention of famed accordionist, Frankie Yankovic. Joey Miskulin was hired by Yankovic and, within a year, he began touring the country as a member of the band. Throughout the 1960’s Joey Miskulin continued to record and tour with Yankovic. At nineteen, Joey left the band to tour Asia with the Hawaiian Internationale Revue, but returned to record an additional five albums with Yankovic’s band.
Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, Joey Miskulin became an in-demand performer and session musician. Seeking to add to his resume, Joey took to the studio and began to produce, with the help of the late Jack “Cowboy” Clements. Always prolific as an artist, by 1987, Joey’s catalog consisted of over 125 albums, with one a Grammy award winner. In succeeding years, Joey Miskulin has performed, recorded, arranged, produced and collaborated with artists including Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney, Townes Van Zant, John Denver, Ricky Skaggs, Ricky Van Shelton, Emmylou Harris, Doc Severenson, Andy Williams, Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, U2, Charlie Daniels, Michael Martin Murphey, Alison Krause, Alan Jackson, Alabama, John Prine/Max Wiseman and many others in Country, Pop and Jazz.
Also, by 1987 Joey Miskulin was a regular on the show, “Riders Radio Theater” hosted by the band, Riders in the Sky. When he was asked to become a member of the band, he adopted the stage persona, “Joey the Cowpolka King,” joining long time members “Ranger Doug” (Doug Green), “Too Slim” (Fred LaBour), and “Woody Paul” (Paul Chrisman). The group still performs many shows per year, and are regularly featured by the Grand Ol’ Opry. Joey Miskulin has produced numerous Grammy award winning albums for the band. Other projects for Joey and the band include writing, performing and producing songs for the Disney film, “The Wild” and for the Disney/Pixar animated cinematic features, “Toy Story 2” and “Cars”.
Joey Miskulin has made it part of his mission to use his influence and body of knowledge to teach new talent the piano accordion. His DVD’s and videos, the first of their kind, illustrate “Accordion Styles and Techniques” and have been well received by accordion players and teachers. Unlike many stars that become protective of their achievements, Joey Miskulin has never hesitated to reach out, enlighten, share and promote the piano accordion as well as empower other musicians in his career. But, most of all, Joey Miskulin has dedicated his life to being the very definition of an Americana “Entertainer”.
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