Monday, May 16, 2016

John  Berquist

John Berquist, one of the original Nodding Wild Onions, died May 12, 2016, after a year of living with pancreatic cancer and its treatments. John played mandolin and accordion at the group's first gig at the 2008 Green Expo at the Rochester Civic Center, and rejoined the band during the last year. He had an astounding talent for playing music, singing exuberantly, and conveying his enthusiasm for music and life to fellow musicians and audiences. We all learned a lot from John, whose boundless gusto persisted even as his energy waned. We will miss him.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Coming Events

Here are some links to videos of performances. This one is one of our favorites, John Fogerty's "Rhubarb Pie," ably performed by Randy Crawford: .

Here is another one from our June 4 2015 Thursdays on First & Third performance:

Enjoy! If you have videos with good sound quality for us to post, please send a link to us at 

We had a great 2016 summer season. Contact us at to get on the list for next summer.

Incredibly, we still have CDs for sale from our live performance in August 2012 at Thursdays on First, so it is not too late to get a couple. They make excellent gifts for all occasions and are meat, lactose, and gluten free. They also make excellent consolation prizes for lost causes. 

We have determined that while the recording industry "man" might track sales success with artificial concepts like "1,000,000" for "platinum" and "500,000" for "gold," we are going to keep it real. We track sales using the element whose atomic number corresponds to the number of records we have sold. Accordingly, if we count a CD that was evidently taken without payment*, we have now rocketed past several heavy metals and other elements in the lanthanoid group to Tantalum! Tantalum (Ta, 73), is a greyish silver, heavy, and very hard metal with a melting point exceeded only by rhenium and tungsten! Only five more to go until we hit platinum (78)!! Remember, our CDs make perfect gifts for every occasion. (And by the way, "the lanthanoid group" would make a great band name.) Only 5 to go until we hit platinum (78)!! 

Here is a handy link with which to track our progress:

*We feel good about the missing unpaid-for CD: people may buy a CD out of sympathy or as an alternative to a tip jar, but when a CD is taken without being paid for, it means they really want the CD. One such CD is enough though, potential purchasers.

Interested in a booking? Contact us at

Nodding Wild Onion Photos

Our Past: The Nodding Wild Onions had its first gig way back in the spring of 2008, when we consisted of Joe Mish on bass, John Berquist on mandolin and accordion, and Phil Wheeler on guitar. By fall of 2008, we were required to identify our genre, so we coined the term (as far as we know), "crossover blues." We played for the RNeighbors RLuau in October 2008, when the band then consisted of Roger Nelson, Laurie Helmers, Joe Mish, and Phil Wheeler. We are now usually the people listed at the right. So things have evolved considerably.

Band Member Bios:

Beth Atkinson grew up along the Mississippi, where she got suffused in the blues (and classical violin) at an early age. She started playing the mandolin after a freak fiddling accident injured her shoulder.

Randy Crawford grew up somewhere near the Surf Ballroom, where he once performed onstage with Herman, of Hermit fame.

Roger Nelson grew up in Minnesota, where he absorbed the assumption that he must have done something to deserve weather like this. So, he has the free-floating-guilt-about-something blues.

Stephanie Podulke studied percussion with the lead percussionist of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, paying with money from babysitting. She picked up the washboard on a dare at a hoedown and hasn't put it down since.

Darin Podulke-Smith joined the band in 2012, bringing his banjo, his extraordinarily deep voice, and his equally deep enthusiasm for old time blues and folk music.

Laurel Podulke-Smith joined her fisrst band in college (Lock Up Your Daughters). In addition to crossover blues, she enjoys singing jazz, big band, bossa nova, Americana, and musical theater.

Julio Vega, percussionist, rejoined the band after a sojourn in Arizona. Welcome home, Julio and family! Julio has the legitimate used-to-live-in-Arizona blues.

Phil Wheeler, band founder, grew up in a small college town in Ohio, where as a middle child and a twin, he got half the attention of most middle children. He nevertheless lacks the right to sing the blues.