Michael Shay – With the nuance of a classically-trained musician, the twang of a born-and-bred Texan, and a career spent collaborating with musicians from around the world, Michael Shay’s vision exists comfortably outside any “Americana” box while still evoking his earliest influences: Townes Van Zandt, Neil Young, Dylan, and the Dead. Like those of his longtime songwriting collaborator 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 ghosts of William Blake, Hank Williams, or Sappho… sometimes while you dance too.
Born in Austin and splitting his down time between Oregon and Ecuador, twenty years exploring folk, pop, and classical musical traditions from around the world finally led Shay back to his artistic home deep in the North American vocal and songwriting traditions. As cellist in world music accordion-cello duo The Just Desserts and as singer-songwriter/guitarist leading his country/bluegrass band Texas Express, Shay has previously toured in Canada, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Germany, France, England, Denmark, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Mexico in addition to the United States. Shay has acted as a cultural ambassador in Ecuador and Colombia, performing and leading workshops under the auspices of the US State Department. While still occasionally appearing with Texas Express and The Just Desserts in Portland, Shay now tours primarily with the Michael Shay Trio, performing original country-folk and roots-Americana repertoire in a format that features upright bass, mandolin, guitar, and 3 part harmonies.