Ponty Bone (1939-2018)

They didn’t call the accordionist Mr. South Austin for nothing

Ponty Bone (1939-2018)
by John Carrico

Austin’s accordion king has put the squeeze on mortality and departed for the cantina of another realm. The 78-year-old Southsider, who had been ill several years, is still best remembered as a charter member of the so-called Lubbock Mafia. Attending Texas Tech, he emerged from the Panhandle in Joe Ely’s band, which once went mano-a-mano with the Clash.

A breezy virtuoso blowing through the Lone Star state, from San Antonio to Lubbock and finally landing locally in 1980, Deponta Bone long remained second only to Flaco Jimenez as Austin’s first-call accordionist. Inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame in 2009, his fluidity across genres – Cajun, conjunto, blues, rock – represented Texas roots music for decades. His choice of instruments tied to his unusual name, as it turns out.

“Certainly, the choice of instrument was interesting to me because it had a weird name and I had already undergone all this childhood trauma about my name,” Bone told the Chronicle in 1998.

Read that extensive feature by Lee Nichols here and stay tuned for more on Ponty Bone in our Music news column “Playback” next week.

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