AZALEA 2022. Instrumental duo with Will Dudley on kora and Michael Shay on cello. Performing original compositions, traditional West African music, as well as Western Classical, Jazz, and other eclectic repertoire. The duo is an elegant
MICHAEL SHAY BAND 2004-2007 and beyond-. Having been called a "jam band for grownups," the band featured original tunes by Shay in a danceable, more electric format. In addition to bringing world music influences into balance with his Texas songwriting roots, the band showcases the improvisational alchemy of rock, "world" and jazz musicians coming together around Shay's taste for innovation and unique chemistries . Members have included Will Dudley, Andrew Borger, Mark Shark, Chris Kee, Ralph Huntley, Michelle Alany, Daniel Pacheco, Ryan Hagler, Donald Regnier, Alex Coke, Cayo Iturralde, Wayne Sutton, Doug Marcis, Steve Zirkel, Evan Arredondo, Glen Rexach, Elizabeth Suggs, Geoff Union, Matt Giles and David Webb. The band recorded an unreleased album in 2006, but you can listen to a few live tracks of the first iteration of the group, recorded by JCrX at Ruta Maya in Austin in 2005-2007: stream here. Also, stay tuned and sign up on the mailing list to hear new songs and new recordings from the new outfit in 2022.
LIKE A RIVER ALBUM 2017. Featuring the Texas country-folk compositions of longtime collaborator Jim Harris, this lush and elegant production was begun in Austin, continued in Quito, Ecuador, and wrapped up in Portland, Oregon. Perhaps not the Americana album you'd expect -with touches of jazz, classical, blues, rock, and world music weaving together the deeply poetic lyrics of a fellow Texan -the record is a journey through intricate and surprising soundscapes which feature Shay's deep baritone voice. One of the songs is a co-write between Geoff Union and Harris, and three others feature music by Austin's Gabe Rhodes (Willie Nelson, Kimmie Rhodes). Shay previously recorded some of Harris' songs on his previous albums, including "Willow's Tune", a duet with Anais Mitchell, and "The Birds Do Sing" featuring Patrick McAvinue (both songs are included in the "Decadence" compilation). Available now on iTunes / Amazon
KORATET 2018-2020. An ensemble that fuses the rhythmic West-African harp with the extended harmony of jazz - a convergence of compositional textures and improvisation quite unlike anything heard before. The cello of Michael Shay brings sustained melodic swells and driving bass lines. The trumpet of Jonathan Roberts combines a classically-trained ear with modern jazz sensibility and experimentation. The percussion of Steven Skolnik balances subtle expressiveness with danceability. And Will Dudley innovates an ancient, beautiful sound with his modified chromatic kora. Exploring the horizons of tradition, genre and instrumentation, The Koratet stands on the fertile ground of groove, seeding expansive explorations of Dudley’s and Roberts’ compositions, repertoire learned from the griots of Mali, and much more. videos / bandcamp
TEXAS EXPRESS 2012- 2021. Swapping between Shay's original country-folk songs and the other band members' favorite bluegrass, Western, ragtime and blues tunes, the Texas Express featured vocal harmonies galore, and truly exciting chemistry expressed through the band's unique repertoire. Texas Express released a debut CD "Disfruteria!" in Ecuador in 2012 and was later based out of the USA. Members have included Annie Staninec, Spud Siegel, Sam Guthridge, Patrick McAvinue, Ryan Hagler, Garrett Siegers, Geoff Union, Andy Sebastia, Phoebe Hunt, Brian Oberlin, Chris Kee, Peter Schwimmer, and Ben Blechman. More TEXAS EXPRESS info and music here
THE JUST DESSERTS 2006-2020. As “curators of delightful musical delicacies from every corner of the globe,” The Just Desserts explored repertoire and rhythms from dozens of different countries, reinterpreting and sometimes re-envisioning any music that caught their attention. Centered around the unique pairing of accordion and cello, their always-evolving, deeply original sound included elements of Latin, Balkan, tango, Americana, pan-European, western classical, Indian, Klezmer, jazz, blues, electronica, and Arabic music. Through a sophisticated and fun framing of the essence of each individual musical tradition, the universality and diversity of the world's greatest music was made profoundly accessible to diverse audiences the world over. www.thejustdesserts.com
CIRQUE DEL SHAY/ PACHECO, REGNIER, Y SHAY 2012 - 2016. In Ecuador, Shay performed in both acoustic and electric formats with French guitarist Donald Regnier, Ecuadorian accordionist/pianist Daniel Pacheco, and Texan bassist Ryan Hagler. videos!
MICHAEL SHAY "Lines of Darkness, Lines of Light" ALBUM 2004. With Anais Mitchell, Libby Kirkpatrick, Raphael Bas, Alex Coke, Eleanor Whitmore-Masterson, Geoff Union, Billy Bright, Bryn Davies, among others, + Shay playing 12 instruments on this original, acoustic, lush "folk"/ singer-songwriter album. "The best CD anyone has given me this year," said Eliza Gilkyson. listen/buy