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New song demo - I Just Work Here 

I've written fiddle tunes and string parts for many years, but up until two days ago I'd never written a song with words. Here's a rough draft of my new song 'I Just Work Here'.

I Just Work Here

I used a metronome set at 60 bpm to imitate the tick of the seconds hand on a clock. The bass line is played on cello.


New tune just posted 

Check out the sheet music just posted for Typolka on the Tunes page. Here's a link to a video that was posted of Athas playing Typolka & Heather's. 





I've recently started recording and rehearsing new songs with Kevin Blackwell & Nate Vest of Sassparilla.

We've had lots of fun collaborating on the new material. 

It'll be a bit of Portland meets Milwaukee on the upcoming album.

If you haven't heard Sassparilla, you can check them out here:

Review in Shepherd Express Nov. 2016 



Derek Pritzl and the Gamble’s Wednesday Night Tradition

Nov. 8, 2016
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It is Wednesday night at District 14 Brewery and Pub in Bay View. A few singer-songwriters sign up for the open mic and, at 8 p.m., host Derek Pritzl takes the corner stage to warm up the audience with a few songs. 

The brick walls enhance his finger-picked acoustic guitar and weathered vocals. An hour and a half later Pritzl will return with his band the Gamble and take the stage to play a set, offering up songs they have begun recording in the studio for a debut album. 

The weekly residency began about a year and a half ago. Pritzl has been using this space as his musical petri dish, working on songs and arrangements in front of an audience, garnering valuable real-time feedback. The gig is paying dividends with a five-piece band that has evolved into a simpatico unit that listens as well as it plays. 

A key piece to the puzzle is bassist Dale Kellison’s Bay View loft. On Tuesdays Pritzl stops here for a few hours and they workshop ideas that will turn up in Wednesday’s set.

Pritzl is no stranger to working at his craft. He plays a rough mix of “Ossippi” and says, “There are probably 75 recordings of that song. Every night I just veg out and play. That song could have started out as a waltz or in a different key. I’ll get into a groove and play it again maybe two days later and it has evolved into something different. Maybe the water was dripping and I am in that rhythm.”

Kellison, a longtime musical veteran, says he has seen growth and progression in the songwriting. “If you can do one night a week consistently you can move forward. If you can do a couple nights a week it really helps things solidify. I’ve learned to play a lot less.”

Kellison and Pritzl agree that listening is key and they are slaves to the song. “The trick is, if you are drawing attention to yourself, you are taking away from the song. It is about supporting the story.”

“Ground zero is the story,” agrees Pritzl. “The cool records are the ones you realize someone just played his ass off and you didn’t even realize it because you are so drawn into the song.”

Back at District 14 the band takes the stage. As game seven of the World Series plays silently on a pair of televisions, the patrons have one ear on the band and one eye on the game. Drummer Andy Blochowiak rides his cymbals atmospherically and the band slowly edges into a train rhythm. 

As the long set meanders through the evening, Heather Lewin’s violin will range from vibrant riffs to the mournful Gypsy phrases on “Homesick and Hellbound” as the song’s finale ramps up in intensity. Her occasional vocal duets with Pritzl pair up like Gram and Emmylou. 

Sprinkled among the original tunes are wisely chosen covers by Tom T. Hall and John Prine. At one point the audience erupts and Pritzl chuckles, “Either you liked that one or something happened in the game.” He sings about a junkyard and walking through the Buicks as guitarist Andrew Koenig twangs a solo on his Fender Telecaster and then backs off into the rhythm section.

The band finishes up with “Pardon Me,” again featuring the honeyed vocals of Lewin and Pritzl. The song builds into a now-familiar train rhythm, before one last sprint into a spirited hoedown. They have been here before and they will be here again.

District 14’s weekly open mic begins every Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Currently accepting new private lesson students 

There are a few spots currently available for private violin, viola, cello & fiddle lessons at Family Music Center & at Brass Bell Music Store. Check out the 'Lessons' page for more info on locations and policies. Contact me if you have any questions, or if you'd like to sign up for private lessons.

Jorin, Lewin & Rochford 

Check out my new old-time bluegrass blues trio Jorin, Lewin & Rochford. The lineup is Ted Jorin on guitar & vocals, Bradley Rochford on clawhammer banjo & vocals, and myself on fiddle & vocals.



I recently started fiddling & singing with a new bluegrass/old-time band, Brewgrass. (

Brewgrass is: Jon Kehoe (mandolin/vocals), Justin Busche (banjo/vocals), John Schulze (guitar/vocals), Mike Secklin (bass/vocals), Carrie Secklin (washboard/vocals) & myself (fiddle/vocals).

Check out the gigs page to see when Brewgrass will be playing a show near you.

'Tunes' page just added 

I've just added a 'Tunes' page to the website. I'll be adding sheet music notation of my original compositions that I've written over the years. I've got about 20 fiddle tunes already notated & ready to be posted. I'll add more as they are created.

A few of my tunes were recorded on the 'Athas' CD in 2007. You can hear it on iTunes & Spotify. 

Feel free to share the sheet music for the tunes with whomever you'd like.

Tunes are meant to be played and I'd absolutely love to hear your versions of them. I'm always really surprised and genuinely honored when someone likes one of my tunes enough to learn & memorize it. And it's even better if I'm lucky enough to be there to listen & play along. 


Website Update 

Just updated the website to make it more mobile friendly. Also added a listing of WI Irish sessions under the Links page, for anyone interested in playing a few tunes. Hope you like the changes. Hope to see you all soon!

Fiddling on Scott Lucas and the Married Men's upcoming CD 

Last week, I headed down to Million Yen Studios in Chicago to record string tracks for the upcoming Scott Lucas & the Married Men CD. Their fiddler Rebecca Manthe and I spent all day in the studio laying down tracks on violin, viola & cello.

I've recorded with Becca in the past on two Tossers CDs. She always impresses me with how prepared she is when going into the studio to record and how detailed her arrangements are. It makes recording so much more enjoyable.

Scott Lucas and Tom Szidon were also there and had great ideas for even more string textures and harmonies. I'm very excited to hear the finished product. It should be available within the next few months.

Keep an eye on their website for more details:

Astral/Subastral - Sonic Alchemy 

Very excited to be part of the 8-Piece World Music band Astral/Subastral. Great musicians and wonderful people. We will be recording a new CD in the next few months and it should be available in January 2012. More details to come...

Athas - Traditional Irish Music 

Just posted a blog about Athas, the Traditional Irish band that I play with. With links to websites, videos, photos and FREE exclusive audio downloads. You can find it all here: athas