A collaborator at heart, Michael Shay is one of those widly versatile artists that always keeps you on your toes. Whether onstage as a singer-songwriter, as cellist in world music outfits Koratet and The Just Desserts, or as vocalist and guitarist in his country/bluegrass band Texas Express, every one of Shay's performances reflects 25 years working in numerous styles of music on multiple continents.
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, Shay's approach as a singer-songwriter falls comfortably outside any "Americana" box while still evoking some of his earliest influences: Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Suzanne Vega, and the Grateful Dead. Like those of his longtime 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...
The latest Michael Shay vocal album, "Like a River; The Songs of Jim Harris" was released in November 2017. Co-produced in Ecuador with French guitarist Donald Régnier, the album features Ryan Hagler, Matt Giles, Marty Muse (Robert Earl Keen), Brian Oberlin, Chris Kee (Peter Rowan/Buddy Miller), "King" Louis Pain on Hammond B-3 organ, plus engineering and mixing by Chris Shaw (Bob Dylan). "Like a River" is available on CDbaby, iTunes, or Amazon. Read more about the new record here, and stream three songs now: Like A River / Abilene / Desire
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 released several albums and toured in Canada, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Germany, France, England, Denmark, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Mexico in addition to the United States. He has acted as a cultural ambassador in Ecuador and Colombia, performing and leading workshops under the auspices of the US State Department.
Shay has performed/recorded/collaborated with Annie Staninec, Mark Machina, Joe Root, Spud Siegel, Chris Kee, Will Dudley, Jonathan Roberts, Steve Skolnik, Lisa Peterson, Anais Mitchell, Jonathan Byrd, Eliza Gilkyson, Zoe Lewis, Patrick McAvinue, Sam Guthridge, Jordan Tice, Brittany Haas, Phoebe Hunt, Eleanor Whitmore-Masterson, Mark Rubin, Will Taylor, Cyril Neville (Neville Brothers), Conrad Choucroun, Matt Hubbard, Carolyn Wonderland, Guy Forsyth, Matt Fockler, Geoff Union, Johnsmith, Paula Nelson, Libby Kirkpatrick, Idgy Vaughn, Alex Coke, Wayne Sutton, Matt Giles, Jonathan Doyle, Maria Tejada, Donald Regnier, Paco Godoy, Mariela Condo, MUNN, Orquesta de Instrumentos Andinos Quito, Mark Shark, Brian Oberlin, Julay Brooks, David Phillips, Josh Feinberg, Ben Blechman, Ralph Huntley, Peter Schwimmer, Michelle Alany, Courtney Von Drehle, Andrew Borger, Andrew Alikhanov, and many others.