“…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, USA
Michael Schatte (pronounced SHAW-tee) has emerged as one of the most compelling guitarists and singer/songwriters on the North American roots music scene. His sound spans a number of styles: rock, blues, celtic, bluegrass, rockabilly – Eclectic Electric Roots Music is Schatte’s preferred descriptor – and his list of accomplishments within these genres grows at a healthy pace indeed.
Recently a finalist at the Memphis International Blues Challenge where he performed at Tennessee’s historic Orpheum Theatre, Schatte has appeared on some of the continent’s best festival and theatre stages, winning new fans and a reputation for world-class musicianship by way of hundreds of concerts in Canada and the United States.
His unique blend of genres was delivered with stunning impact on his 2015 studio album Turn Back the Vikings. 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 Vikings), that album is now followed by Michael’s finest work to date: Conundrum. Released November 6th, 2020, Conundrum showcases why Britain’s Blues Matters! magazine called him “…one of the best undiscovered songwriters of our times,” while The London Free Press regards him as nothing less than a “Canadian guitar great.”
Produced and engineered by Schatte with a keen ear for organic yet punchy production, Conundrum puts Michael’s world-class musicianship and unforgettable lyrics on full display. This album exposes lust ready to boil over (Water In the Kettle) and an historic tale of Scottish assassination-by-explosive (Dry Black Power). It tells of humorous sibling rivalry (Please Don’t Dance With My Brother) and tense sexual rivalry (Genevieve, Daria, The Upper Hand). It is peppered with existential whimsy (Conundrum, In the Cold Hard Here and Now) and searing blues boogie (Longtime Lover, Come On Down). It features blistering Celtic instrumental riffery (Good King Richard) and poetry inspired by the ancients (Bread, Water, Love). And finally, the new record shines a revealing light on our darker human impulses (Silly Old Man, The Candy Aisle, A Mind A Mess).
Intelligent lyrics, hook-filled arrangements, and Schatte’s rich singing voice surely 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 highly respected and downright fiery guitarist and multi-instrumentalist (like his other records, Conundrum sees him exorcising demons on mandolin, tenor banjo, hammered dulcimer, violin, and a host of other tools), 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 concert in London, 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.”
Perhaps award-winning music writer Sandra B. Tooze (Muddy Waters : The Mojo Man) sums him up best: “Schatte’s lyrics range from wistfulness to lust, philosophy to fun, menace to wit. With his exceptional voice and magnificent guitar, Michael Schatte is an impressive talent.” Get the latest album and see him perform live to discover this for yourself.
“Schatte’s lyrics range from wistfulness to lust, philosophy to fun, menace to wit. With his exceptional voice and magnificent guitar, Michael Schatte is an impressive talent…”Sandra B. Tooze, Maple Blues Newsletter, Canada
“…one of the best undiscovered songwriters of our times.”Blues Matters!, U.K.
“Sharp lyrics, lively tunes, breathtaking guitar playing and a tight sound make this album a delight… Conundrum is so damn cool it’s almost insane.”John Kereiff, Gonzo Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada
“…[Schatte’s music] resides at the intersection of Talent and Brilliance. The side streets are Genius and Compelling.”Barry Lubotta, Phase One Audio Group, Canada
A “Canadian guitar great…”The London Free Press
“Talent just oozes from Michael. He’s a marvellous guitarist and an accomplished vocalist. What really stands out his creative ability to write and compose songs that cross over multiple genres. He’s been called ‘Canada’s hidden treasure’ but now with his new release, Conundrum, we can drop the term ‘hidden’.”Ken Wallis, The Sound Cafe
“I can’t decide whether Michael Schatte is a killer guitarist with an excellent voice who writes great songs or a poet who also happens to be a great singer and guitarist. Either way it works!…Watch for big things from this young man.”James Doran, Host of Canadian Blues Spotlight on Mark Stenzler’s Blues Zeppelin, Switzerland
“Canada’s hidden treasure.”Stratford Rib and Bluesfest
“Michael’s clear powerful voice, his formidable guitar work, as well as his special feel for bringing diverse styles of music together make “Turn Back the Vikings” a calling card that hopefully will open the doors to international recognition.”Keys and Chords, The Netherlands
“…deliciously poignant, both musically and lyrically… Schatte covers [Richard] Thompson’s own ode to a bone collector (Sam Jones) perfectly and proves that, as an artist, he is nearly able to rival the crafty Englishman.”Winnipeg Free Press
“…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