Henry Koretzky

dsc00612_1From his website:

Henry Koretzky, a native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, came to playing music late in life and has spent the past few decades trying to make up for lost time.

First picking up the guitar seriously at age seventeen, more than [mumblemumble] years ago, he began playing and listening to an eclectic mix of folk, bluegrass, rock, jazz, and blues. Making his stage debut in 1979 with a garage band whose repertoire ranged from traditional blues to Dave Brubeck to the Allman Brothers set the tone for what can be generously termed as a variegated musical career.

In 1983, Henry joined High Strung, a central Pennsylvania bluegrass band known as much for its forays into jazz and celtic music as for its regional hit, “Beam Me Up, Scotty” (written by the late Sean Downey) on guitar, hammered dulcimer, and mandolin. He continued with that group off and on until its demise in the mid-’90s. But as High Strung reconstituted itself at various points in the ’80s, Henry joined forces with various other groups, including The Old World Folk Band, a large klezmer ensemble with whom he continued to record and perform for 18 years. OWFB released two live recordings (both out-of-print), two studio CDs, and a documentary videocassette.

In the early ’90s, Henry began playing for contradances, beginning with the quintet Medicinal Purpose, led by fiddler Ryck Kaiser. MP released one cassette-only recording, and continues to regroup for occasional dances and concerts. Henry’s principal contradance outlet is with York County fiddler Todd Clewell, with whom he performs as The Contra Rebels (sometimes adding 3rd and 4th members to the group.) Todd and Henry have played dances together in NY, DE, MD, OH, GA, NC, SC, NJ, as well as throughout Pennsylvania. Henry also sometimes teams with fiddler Bruce Young and pianist Jill Smith as The Gnu Tones.

In the mid-’90s, Henry joined fiddler Ken Gehret and banjoist Nev Jackson in Sweetwater Reunion. With various other personnel over the years, the group recorded two contemporary bluegrass CDs of predominantly original material as a full band: Oliver’s Quiet and A Still Place in My Heart.

Later that decade, Henry joined the Ithaca (NY)-based bluegrass band Cornerstone. In Henry’s 3-year tenure with the band, the group performed at festivals in Florida, Texas, Washington, New York, and Kentucky.

In addition to concentrating his energies on ROOTBOUND and The Contra Rebels, Henry also performs as an accompanist for contemporary singer-songwriter KJ, both as part of a duo and as the trioSweet Nothings, as well as with Celtic singer/guitarist Jamie O’Brien and Emmy Truckenmiller in the Celtic/Americana trio Shades of Green and Blue, and the swing band Sink Or Swing. He also continues to write reviews and the occasional article for the magazine Bluegrass Unlimited.