What happens when three bluegrass, jazz, and classical musicians get together to play Texas folk and alt-country in an acoustic format that’s all about the poetry? Michael Shay’s remarkable trio from Austin and France (via their home in Quito, Ecuador) is on tour in the western USA to give you a chance to find out. Shay’s lush baritone voice and guitar, fellow Texan Ryan Hagler’s upright bass and harmony vocals, and French guitarist Donald Regnier’s resonator and slide guitar combine for a forcefully elegant sound and a powerful repertoire you'll not soon forget. Like those of songwriting partner Jim Harris, Shay’s songs hang around timeless themes like dreams, human history, or the future, as well as the sensual playground of bars, William Blake, graveyards, rich folks’ yards, wedding dresses, and cow towns.
With the nuance of a classically trained musician, the grit of a hard-traveling Texas troubadour, and a taste for almost every style of music under the sun, Michael Shay's folk and alt-country sensibilities reflect a vision comfortably outside any "Americana" box while still evoking his earliest influences: Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young, Dylan, and the Dead.
Born in Austin but currently based in Quito, Ecuador (and relocating to Oregon at the end of 2015), twenty years exploring countless musical traditions in far-flung countries eventually led Michael Shay back to performing his own rootsy Americana originals and those of songwriting partner Jim Harris. As cellist in world music duo The Just Desserts and singer-songwriter/guitarist in country/bluegrass band Texas Express, Shay has performed, collaborated, and taught in Canada, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Germany, France, England, Denmark, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Mexico, as well as throughout the United States.
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, Maria Tejada, Mariela Condo, 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 vision and experience through a decade of recording projects. In support of this release, Shay is touring with a trio in summer 2015 through NM, AZ, CA, OR, WA, ID, CO, and TX.