In the twenty years since Michael Shay released his first singer/songwriter record, he’s spent as much time living and collaborating outside the USA as in it, releasing several albums of the world-fusion, Americana, classical crossover and rock projects that led his travels. Coming full circle after two decades, 2023 will see the release of "Motherland," a new orchestral folk album of original songs exploring themes of land, class, family, migration, desperation, seasons, gender, labor, and escape.
Though “Motherland” prominently features Shay’s uniquely versatile cello stylings, he also plays multiple guitars, mandola, and bass to shape lush illustrations of personal and historical mythologies emanating from his recent homes in New Mexico, Ecuador, and the Pacific Northwest.
In addition to his earliest influences in Suzanne Vega, Robert Hunter and Townes Van Zandt, on “Motherland” you might hear echos of Greg Brown, Neil Young, Gillian Welch, John Prine, and even Leonard Cohen - who once complimented him on a cover of “Suzanne” in which Shay had altered a lyric, saying it was “a better line anyway!”
This is what "Texas Folk" sounds like in the hands of a classically trained musician born and raised in Austin, but who spent as much of the last 15 years making music outside the USA as in it.