Crow Filled Sky
There has never been a better time to acquaint yourself with the music of Canadian guitarist, singer, and songwriter Michael Schatte. 2009 finds him in extremely fine form: a new album, a new live band, a new base of operations, and a rejuvenated drive to create some of the best roots rock music available anywhere. Crow Filled Sky, his latest record, sets a new personal standard for songwriting, instrumentation, and vocal work that is sure to please fans old and new. While 2006's Hard Ticket showcased Michael's grasp of several different genres (including celtic, blues, rock, and others) and his ability to interpret the music of a choice group of luminaries (covers of songs by Richard Thompson, Van Morrison, and Daniel Lanois among others appeared alongside eight original compositions), Crow Filled Sky ups the ante in every direction. Fifteen original songs blend intelligent lyricism, first-rate instrumentation, and impassioned vocal delivery to yield his most cohesive and exciting album to date. At the ripe old age of 25, Schatte is truly a unique phenomenon. Exposed to his father's impressive music collection from a very early age, Schatte developed a passion for a wide variety of musical styles including blues, rock 'n' roll, traditional Irish and Scottish music and beyond. This eclecticism has influenced everything he's ever been involved with musically; from his participation in the celtic band The Marauders at age 13, to leading the high-octane Canadian blues power trio Midnight Mojo from age 15 to 18, and finally to his current status as an emerging solo artist with seemingly unlimited potential. Crossing traditional genre boundaries means nothing if it isn't done with both skill and taste. Thankfully for his listeners, Michael has these and other qualities in spades. As a respected and fiery guitarist, Schatte has been compared to world-class players decades his senior. Citing a recent live performance, The Windsor Review described Michael as 'a frighteningly skilled musician who blasted the crowd to awed silence.' Telling words, especially given that they describe an unamplified solo acoustic guitar concert! Counting Richard Thompson, Gary Moore, and Albert Lee as major influences, Michael is equally adept on both electric and acoustic fingerstyle guitar. Undoubtedly, the blues informs a great deal of his playing, but he also readily incorporates elements of celtic, rock, and country-rock styles into his ever-evolving 'guitartistry.' Though Crow Filled Sky and it's predeccesor, Hard Ticket, are both unapologetically guitar-driven, both albums showcase Michael's considerable chops on a number of other instruments. One need only listen to the playful country blues rave-up Okay Blues from the new album to get a sense of Schatte's qualifications on the mandolin, for instance. And true to his penchant for eclecticism, most other songs find Michael exercising combinations of dulcimer, tin whistle, violin, accordion, and other tools nestled alongside his trademark electric and acoustic guitar work. As a relatively young musician who has already begun to achieve national/international exposure (appearances on CTV's nationally broadcast 'Open Mike with Mike Bullard', 'The Mitch Albom Show' out of Detroit, etc.), Michael Schatte stands poised to bring his energetic and uncompromising musicianship - both in the studio and on the stage - to music lovers everywhere.