What happens when musicians with backgrounds in swing, classical, bluegrass, and world music come together to play original acoustic Texas folk, bluegrass, and alt-country? Michael Shay and his Portland, Oregon-based band will give you the chance to find out. Shay’s lush baritone voice and guitar plus Brian Oberlin (Swinging Doors/Mike Marshall/Evan Marshall/Gideon Freudmann) on mandolin, Chris Kee (Peter Rowan/The Waybacks/Houston Jones) on upright bass, and their 3 part vocal harmonies combine for a powerfully elegant sound and poetic repertoire you'll not soon forget.
With the nuance of a classically trained musician, the grit of a hard-traveling troubadour, and a taste for almost every style of music under the sun, Michael Shay's roots and experience give birth to a vision comfortably outside any "Americana" box while still evoking his earliest influences: Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young, Dylan, and the Dead. Like those of longtime songwriting partner 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 ghost of William Blake, Hank Williams, or Sappho...while you dance too.
Born in Austin and recently relocated to Portland, Oregon after a stint in Ecuador, twenty years exploring countless musical traditions in far-flung countries has led Shay full circle to find his true artistic home deep in the North American vocal traditions . As cellist in world music duo The Just Desserts and singer-songwriter/guitarist leading his country/bluegrass band Texas Express, Shay has previously toured Canada, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Germany, France, England, Denmark, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Mexico, as well as most of the United States more than a few times. With Texas Express, Shay spearheaded two tours and one educational residency in Ecuador and Colombia under the auspices of the US State Department, and Texas Express was the alternate band for the American Music Abroad program in 2014.
Shay has performed, recorded, and collaborated with Anais Mitchell, Jonathan Byrd,, Eliza Gilkyson, Zoe Lewis, Patrick McAvinue, Sam Guthridge, Jordan Tice, Brittany Haas, Phoebe Hunt, Eleanor Whitmore (Steve Earle), Mark Rubin (Bad Livers), Will Taylor, Cyril Neville (Neville Brothers), Conrad Choucroun (NRBQ), 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,, Maria Tejada, Donald Regnier, Paco Godoy, Mariela Condo, MUNN, Orquesta de Instrumentos Andinos Quito, and many others.
Seven previous releases exploring genres as diverse as bluegrass, Balkan, rock, folk, country, Latin, tango, swing, Catalan, Indian, Andean, and classical led to the January 2015 release of the compilation "Decadence - Ten Years of Music 2002-2012", showcasing the diversity of Shay's output and experience through a decade of recording projects. A new record "The Songs of Jim Harris" will be released at the end of 2016.