Michael Shay?  Which Michael Shay?  The globe-trotting cellist in "world music" duo The Just Desserts?  The Portland-Oregon based singer-songwriter with a beautiful baritone voice?  The founder/Director of a music school for early childhood in Austin, Texas?  The lead singer in Ecuadorian bluegrass-country band Texas Express?  The cultural ambassador who completed 3 tours for the US State Department?  The answer is yes.

A collaborator at heart, Michael Shay is one of the most versatile and original artists you'll hope to meet.  Twelve years working with accordionist Lisa Peterson in The Just Desserts, almost twenty years leading both acoustic and electric bands performing his original vocal music, and fifteen working as a music educator and producer, every chance you get to hear Michael is bound to be a little different, always in the company of the most unique musicians that you may or may not have heard before.

      Born in Austin and splitting his down time between Oregon and Ecuador, twenty years exploring music from around the world most recently led Shay back to recording in the North American vocal and songwriting traditions.  As cellist in world music accordion-cello duo The Just Desserts and as singer-songwriter/guitarist leading his country/bluegrass band The Texas Express, Shay has previously toured in Canada, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Germany, France, England, Denmark, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Mexico in addition to the United States.  Shay has acted as a cultural ambassador in Ecuador and Colombia, performing and leading workshops under the auspices of the US State Department.  Appearing in the Pacific Northwest with The Just Desserts, Shay tours nationally and internationally with the Michael Shay Trio, performing original country-folk and roots-Americana repertoire in a format that features upright bass, mandolin, guitar, and 3 part harmonies., including collaborators such as Chris Kee, Peter "Spud" Siegel, Mark Shark, Brian Oberlin, Donald Regnier, and Ryan Hagler.

Shay's work as cellist with accordionist Lisa Peterson as The Just Desserts is a boundless exploration of popular, traditional, and classical music traditions from around the world. As “curators of delightful musical delicacies from every corner of the globe,” The Just Desserts have explored repertoire and rhythms from dozens of different countries, reinterpreting and sometimes re-envisioning any music that catches their attention. Centered around the unique pairing of accordion and cello, their always-evolving, deeply original sound includes elements of Latin, Balkan, tango, Americana, pan-European, classical, Klezmer, Indian, swing, blues,, and Arabic music. Through a sophisticated and fun framing and blending of the essence of each individual musical tradition, the universality and diversity of the world's greatest music is made profoundly accessible to diverse audiences the world over. 

Blending the nuance of a classically-trained musician, the twang of a born-and-bred Texan, and a genre-bouncing career spent collaborating with musicians from around the world, Michael Shay's vision as a singer-songwriter exists comfortably outside any "Americana" box while still evoking his earliest influences: Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young, Dylan, and the Dead.   Like those of his longtime songwriting collaborator Jim Harris, Shay’s songs are as likely to touch down in the bars and backroads of cow towns as in the graveyards and parlours of old Europe, dancing with the ghosts of William Blake, Hank Williams, or Sappho... sometimes while you dance too.

The new Michael Shay vocal album,  "Like a River; The Songs of Jim Harris" was released in the USA Nov. 25 2017.  Co-produced by Donald Régnier for ADL Records, the album features Matt Giles, Marty Muse (Robert Earl Keen), Brian Oberlin, Chris Kee (Peter Rowan/Buddy Miller), "King" Louis Pain on Hammond B-3 organ, and with engineering and mixing by Chris Shaw (Bob Dylan).  Sample the songs, order your physical copy, or purchase digital downloads from:
                        CDbaby,              iTunes,      or  Amazon 

Read more about the new vocal record here, and stream three of the songs here:

                         Like A River        Abilene         Desire     

For audio and video of Michael Shay's other projects, please enjoy enjoy the rest of this site!

Shay has performed/recorded/collaborated with Anais Mitchell, Jonathan Byrd, Eliza Gilkyson, Zoe Lewis, Patrick McAvinue, Sam Guthridge, Jordan Tice, Brittany Haas, Phoebe Hunt, Eleanor Whitmore (Steve Earle/The Mastersons), Mark Rubin (Bad Livers), Will Taylor, Cyril Neville (Neville Brothers), Conrad Choucroun (NRBQ/Patty Griffin), Matt Hubbard (7 Walkers/Willie Nelson), Carolyn Wonderland, Guy Forsyth, Matt Fockler, Geoff Union (Ragged Union), Johnsmith, Paula Nelson, Libby Kirkpatrick, Idgy Vaughn, Alex Coke, Wayne Sutton, Matt Giles, Jonathan Doyle, Michelle Alany, Maria Tejada, Donald Regnier, Paco Godoy, Mariela Condo, MUNN, Orquesta de Instrumentos Andinos Quito, Mark Shark, Brian Oberlin, Spud Siegel, Chris Kee, and many others. 


Michael Shay Audio Player

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