Andy Polon

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Andy Polon grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and hung around many guitar players. He studied guitar with a friend of the family, who taught at the YMCA. Polon didn't show much promise, but he…
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Andy Polon grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and hung around many guitar players. He studied guitar with a friend of the family, who taught at the YMCA. Polon didn't show much promise, but he did have a couple of classmates in junior high school that were very good (one studying with Dave Von Ronk), and with a bit of encouragement continued to practice. By the time he hit 14 or 15, Polon found himself studying with Dave Von Ronk. During summer camp a few years later, one of the counselors invited Rev. Gary Davis to the camp. He accepted the offer and Andy Polon got an opportunity to hear Davis playing on the front porch. This made a lasting impression on him, leaving him yearning to play like the man. Polon hung around with some of the best players of the era. Just like many guitar players of the time, he made sure he attended Sundays at Washington Square Park . Some of the players to be seen and heard were Danny Kalb of the Blues Project, Happy and Artie Traum, and Stefan Grossman to name a few. Polon recalls seeing Lightnin' Hopkins playing there one summer, along with some other regulars such as Rick Schoenberg, David Laibman, David Grisman, and Jodie Spector. Polon then went off to college in Chicago, because he felt this the best place to listen to blues first-hand.He began hanging around the blues clubs there. While in Chicago, he had the chance to sit in with Junior Wells; he also got to see Magic Sam live while there. Andy Polon felt it was time to return to New York. He then went on to receive a music degree from Hunter College, soon to begin teaching at the Fretted Instrument School of Folk Music.This was the teaching section of the Folklore Center. At night, he would frequent a club called the Gaslight. On Tuesday nights the Gaslight would have an open jam. Some of the other artists who frequented the club were Phoebe Snow and Kris Kristofferson. In 1974, Polon became the accompanist for Raun MacKinnon, a singer/songwriter from Philadelphia. Shortly after this, he started playing guitar with Mary Travers, of Peter, Paul, & Mary fame, and in the '80s, he became involved with the Guitar Workshop out in Long Island. Polon also released his first album, Mad Metropolis, during this period. New York on Six Strings a Day was released in 1997. He performs to promote both of those releases, as well as playing in club date situations. He can also be found keeping himself busy by playing shows in hospitals, nursing homes, health care facilities, and institutions, which he has been doing since the '70s. He continues to give lessons and publish books on the fingerpicking style of guitar. Andy Polon and the guitar are very much synonymous.