“…the incomparable Michael Schatte… is a dream of a guitar player, a dashing performer, but also a thoughtful and self-conscious artist.”
Michael Schatte probably wouldn’t call himself a Bluesman. And yet since January, the Canadian guitarist, vocalist and songwriter has found himself a top-eight finalist at the 2015 Memphis International Blues Challenge, the winner of the 2015 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search, and by year’s end he’ll have hit the main stage on several major stops of the Canadian Blues and Jazz festival circuit.
Though he loves The Blues (and evidently does it well), it’s just one ingredient in the eclectic brew of original rock, blues, rockabilly, bluegrass, and celtic he’s been writing, recording, and performing throughout his career. This blend of genres, often described as roots rock, is delivered with stunning impact on his new album, Turn Back the Vikings. Vikings confirms what fans of Michael’s recorded catalogue and high-energy live shows have long known: this is a musician headed for widespread recognition. Recorded in Toronto and mixed in Austin, Texas by Simon Tassano (the live and studio engineer of choice for folk-rock legend Richard Thompson, whose Sam Jones is the sole cover song on Turn Back the Vikings), the new album is Michael’s finest work to date.
When you witness audiences singing along to songs they’ve never heard before, it’s clear the new material is working. Such was the case with several tracks from Turn Back the Vikings before it was released in February 2015, with songs like Honey Doll, Baby’s on the Border, Pistol on Her Pillow, and Odessa getting regular live workouts leading up to the release. The intelligent lyrics, the hook-filled arrangements, and Schatte’s voice certainly have a way of capturing attention, but it’s his work on a certain six-string plank of wood that ties it all together musically.
A respected and fiery guitarist, Schatte has developed the habit of leaving audience jaws agape. He’s been compared to world-class players decades his senior, and counts Peter Green, Danny Gatton, Albert Lee, Mark Knopfler and of course the aforementioned Richard Thompson as major influences on both his electric and acoustic fingerstyle playing. Reviewing a recent concert at Aeolian Hall in London, ON, The Beat Magazine described Michael as “one of Canada’s best-kept secrets and certainly one of its most skilled rock performers,” citing his “masterful manipulation of the guitar” and a vocal style “as polished as his picking.”
There’s a reason The Stratford Rib and Bluesfest recently called him, “Canada’s hidden treasure.” Get the album and see him perform live to discover it for yourself.
What Others Are Saying:
“…the incomparable Michael Schatte… is a dream of a guitar player, a dashing performer, but also a thoughtful and self-conscious artist..” – Numero Cinq Magazine, read the essay on songwriting Michael contributed here.
“Canada’s hidden treasure.” – Stratford Rib and Bluesfest
“…one of Canada’s best-kept secrets and certainly one of its most skilled rock performers.” – The Beat Magazine
“Young Michael Schatte is, simply, a guitar virtuoso…” – Sydney Lea, Poet Laureate of Vermont
“…a frighteningly skilled musician who blasted the crowd to awed silence… his set was ended with uproarious applause.” – The Windsor Review
“…like T-Bone Burnett fronting a band with Richard Thompson occupying the lead guitar spot… This guy is definitely going places in the days to come. Recommended.” – Scene Magazine
“…Michael Schatte’s sound falls superbly somewhere between the folk rock musings of Richard Thompson and the Canuck blues edge of Colin James… As a bonus, the artist also displays something of a literate edge to his lyrics that definitely sets him more than a few rungs above the moon/June competition. His playing throughout is at times awe-inspiring…” – Uptown Magazine
“Schatte enthralls.” – The Chatham Daily News
“Our musical guest features a brilliant seventeen year-old guitarist who has been compared to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Healey…” – Mike Bullard, host of CTV’s Open Mike with Mike Bullard