With the elegance of a classical player, the drive of a bluegrass musician, and a beautiful baritone voice just twangy enough to know he's from Texas, Michael Shay's folk songwriting and country sensibilities reflect a vision comfortably outside any "Americana" box, while poetically evoking his earliest influences: Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young, Dylan, and the Dead.
“Being in Austin and hearing so many musicians is always a privilege, but honestly sometimes it all begins to sound the same as all the other bands playing in that particular genre. Shay’s uniqueness shines as he offers so much variety in that respect, and amazingly, each genre that he presents sounds as though it is his favourite. He really does step out of the box in that regard- of NOT being able to categorise his music as "this or that”!”
Born in Austin and currently based in Quito, Ecuador, twenty years making the rounds of musical genres and far-flung countries led Michael Shay back to singing his own "Americana"-flavored songs. His work with world music duo The Just Desserts and country/bluegrass band Texas Express has seen him perform, collaborate, and teach in Canada, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Germany, France, England, Denmark, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Mexico, as well as throughout the United States.
Seven previous releases exploring genres as diverse as folk, rock, bluegrass, country, tango, swing, Balkan, Catalan, Indian, Andean, Latin, and classical led to the January 2015 release of the compilation "DECADENCE - TEN YEARS OF MUSIC 2002-20012". In support of this release, Shay's multinational group -seen in the videos below- will tour TX, NM, AZ, CA, OR, WA, and CO from mid June-early August 2015.
Shay has performed, recorded, or collaborated with Anais Mitchell, Jonathan Byrd,, Zoe Lewis, Eliza Gilkyson, Idgy Vaughn, Matt Fockler, Geoff Union, Eleanor Whitmore (The Mastersons), Libby Kirkpatrick, Johnsmith, Paula Nelson, Patrick McAvinue, Sam Guthridge, Phoebe Hunt, Jordan Tice, Brittany Haas, Alex Coke, Wayne Sutton, Matt Giles, Mark Rubin, Will Taylor, Cyril Neville, Conrad Choucroun, Jonathan Doyle, Matt Hubbard, Carolyn Wonderland, Guy Forsyth, and many others.
"Some say that traveling by night is like thought itself, and something like that happened to me listening to this disc, carried by a mood of introspection. It seems the goal of “Decadence” was about finding the "something" that unifies diverse genres, and the disc achieves this very well. One doesn't feel at all the sensation of it being a “potpourri” but instead that that elusive "something" was discovered…. what exactly is that?!”