Representing the fourth generation in a family polka tradition, Alex Meixner has built his reputation as a dynamic master of the diatonic button accordion on a family musical tradition with deep roots. His family heritage notwithstanding, Alex’s music is not exactly his great grandfather Leopold’s polka. Instead, Alex brings a fresh musical voice to the tradition, infusing the American polka scene with high-energy performances and boundless excitement that appeals to a wide range of audiences, not to mention a well-traveled musician’s versatility and eclectic tastes.
The Meixner family musical dynasty began with Alex’s violin-playing great-grandfather Leopold, who emigrated from the Austrian province of Burgenland to the U.S. in the mid-1920s. Home to Germanic, Hungarian, and Croatian-speaking inhabitants, Burgenland’s mix of diverse musical traditions shaped Leopold Meixner’s repertoire, and established a reputation for blending regional styles that would be passed down through subsequent generations of Meixner family bands. In the early 1950s, Leopold had his three-year-old son, Al, join the family band. Their American performance settings were heavily dominated by Polish, Czech, and German polkas, causing the Meixner’s Austrian-based sound and repertoire to further expand. As a result, Al matured into an extremely versatile performer. He toured with his own band for many years.
Much like his father, Alex’s musical career began at a young age. At the age of six, he joined his father and two sisters in the family musical ensemble. Alex continued to tour with his father for many years. When his father retired, Alex assumed the reins for the band, enhancing the family legacy for having one of the most dynamic polka ensembles in the country. With a career spanning over 30 years, Alex plays approximately a dozen instruments and can sing in 11 languages, including German, Slovenian, Croatian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, and English. Alex can also transition seamlessly across music traditions, as well as from traditional to contemporary styles. He has appeared at festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe, on The Tonight Show, and on over 50 recordings. In 2007, Alex earned a Grammy nomination for his Polka Freak Out recording with Bubba Hernandez. Never one to sit still for long, Alex has since recorded seven full-length albums, appeared in several national commercials, and was featured on the soundtrack for The Polka King, starring Jack Black, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017—whenever Black plays accordion in the film, audiences are actually treated to Alex’s playing.
Alex is joined by his bandmate, Paddy King, on fiddle and mandolin.