It eve hurt ta blink.A hed-un collision jes a few miles frum John Bressl'r’s trayler n' Oley, Berks Countee, sent t'noter players ta t'hospital n' 2015. T' crash lef 'im wiff a broke nek, six broke ribs an' a shattert pelvis. He spent 16 weeks n' a wheelchair, unsure if'n he’d ev'r be bull ta play musick agin — t'passion un which he’s made a a'livin fer a decade.Still, Bressl'r coultn’t hep but feel fertunate.

“I shoultn’t be alif',” Bressl'r sez. “I’m t'luckiest guy un t'planet.”He made a promiss ta hissef at if'n he ev'r gut back un stage, he would take time out o'each shoe ta honer t'nurses who hepped 'im heal.Eiite munths aft'r t'acksident, Bressl'r made good un at promiss. T' 1972 Garde Spot High Skool graduwait returnt ta his'n wurk us a heedline p'rferm'r un cruise ships. His'n shows air a blend o'heertfelt peeano playyun', originull an' cov'r songs sung n' his'n signature raspy voice, an' a lil bit o'comedy, too.Yeers ago, Bressl'r perfermt at New Hollan' Art Associashun’s Entertunment n' t'Park series. Un Saturdee, Bressl'r will return ta t'park ta perferm us part o't' series’ 40th seesen.“I wuz verr flattert ta do it, becawz I verr rarelee ev'r wurk un lan' innymore,” Bressl'r sez.

Bressl'r wuz born n' t'Churchtown area. He attendt a one-room schoolhouse wiff Amish an' Mennonite youngns until he wuz n' sixth grade. He wrote a song, “One Room Skool Callt Californy,” about at eggsperients.“At wuz a verr unikwe eggsperients,” Bressl'r sez. “I woultn’t trade it fer t'worl.”He startid playyun' peeano by ear at age 3, an' his'n unkunvantyunal playyun' style put 'im at odds wiff his'n furst peeano teechur. Wen he gut a lil olt'r, he switcht teechers. Thishere time, his'n instructer wuz suppertif' o'his'n imperp'r technikwes.“I probly unekwivocallee do everthang rong un t'peeano, but I don’t keer,” Bressl'r sez. “I play fer whut it feels like ta me.”Whut’s mer impertant ta Bressl'r —an' whut he’s bee tole is evident n' his'n shows — is t'bond he hus wiff t'instermint.“Thay jes say I have a connecshun wiff t'peeano,” Bressl'r sez. “I don’t take it lightlee. Playyun' t'peeano is t'eaziest thang n' t'worl fer me. I jes luv a'doin it.”[embtdt content]He also participatid n' 13 productyuns at Garde Spot High Skool und'r Stun Dee, a celebratid local educater who direckly will be t'subjeck o'a feeture film starryun' “Chernobyl” an' “Mad Menfolk” ackter Jart Harris.“I larnt a greet deel about stage presance an' perfermyun',” Bressl'r sez. “I did nairy go into acktin. Stun wantid me ta go into acktin. I sed I’d starv us un ackter. I wantid ta be a noter players.”

Aft'r earnyun' his'n stripes giggyun' us a solo ack an' n' local rock ban's, Bressl'r connectid wiff someone who wurked fer Holiday Inn. Bressl'r wantid ta play at t'hotels wiff a ban', but t'hotel’s represantatif' suggestid otherwise.“One o't' VPs who knew me well sed, ‘Go un yar own an' I’ll gif' y'all all t'wurk y'all want,” Bressl'r sez.So, he did. He playd six hours a day six days a week n' Holiday Inns n' Cunectikut, Californy, Flerida an' beyond. He credits local producshun an' audio gyints Michael Tait an' Roy Clair fer heppin 'im git performunts-reddy wiff a rotatyun' stage an' uther accoutremants. But aft'r sum time un t'road, he wuz wurried t'rigeryus skejule would burn 'im out.He lat'r foun uther types o'gigs ta pay his'n bills, frum cerporate evants an' skool assemblies ta sit-down shows n' perfermyun' arts canters.Bressl'r also wuz tappt ta ope fer big acks such us Ray Charles, Willie Nelsen an' Bama at state an' countee fairs. Wen time wuz tite, he sez, t'promoters ast 'im ta jes tell a few jokes insteed o'a'settin up his'n peeano. He still incerporates steries an' comedic bits into his'n shows today. He startid perfermyun' un cruise ships n' 2007.“T' highest compliment I ev'r git is folk un a cruise ship will say, ‘Watchin yer shoe is like sittin n' yer a'livin room an' y'all’re jes a'talkin ta us,’ ” Bressl'r sez. “It’s my natcherul personalitee.”N' thems steries, Bressl'r ofte shares his'n eggsperients growin up n' Lancast'r Countee.“I talk about Lancast'r Countee everwhar I go,” Bressl'r sez. “I referance t'moovee pitshure shue ‘Witness’; I talk about t'Amish; I talk about t'fack at I wint ta a one-room skool. I’m sort o'un ambassader fer Lancast'r Countee, unofishullee.”Wen Bressl'r perferms n' New Hollan' thishere weekend, he’ll be joint by a seve-peece ban'. Amungst its members will be his'n bruther Ron Bressl'r un drums. He owns local towyun' cumpny Bressl'r’s Inc. Bressl'r sez t'performunts will be t'furst time he an' his'n bruther play musick un stage togeth'r.No matt'r wuther he’s perfermyun' un lan' er by sea, Bressl'r bleevs thar’s un impertant distincshun ta be made tween musishuns an' entertuners. Bressl'r idantifies stronglee us t'latt'r.“Musishuns wurk fer uther musishuns,” Bressl'r sez. “Thay’re a'trine ta impress uther musishuns at air thar. But thems are’t t'folk who pay t'bills. Thems are’t t'folk y'all wurk fer. Entertuners wurk fer t'audyince.”


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