It is no exaggeration to say that Michael Schatte (pronounced SHAW-tee) has emerged as one of the most compelling guitarists and singer/songwriters on the North American roots music scene. Since early 2015, when he was a top-eight finalist at the Memphis International Blues Challenge and 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 more than 200 concerts in Canada and the United States. Though Schatte loves the blues (and evidently does it well), it’s just one ingredient in what he calls Eclectic Electric Roots Music, a brew of original rock, blues, celtic, bluegrass, country and rockabilly he’s been writing, recording, and performing throughout his career.
This unique blend of genres is delivered with stunning impact on his latest studio album, Turn Back the Vikings. Recorded in his home base of 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), the new album is Michael’s finest work to date, prompting Britain’s Blues Matters! magazine to call him “one of the best undiscovered songwriters of our times.” Intelligent lyrics, hook-filled arrangements, and Schatte’s rich singing 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, The Beat Magazine described Schatte 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:
“…each song on Turn Back the Vikings has a unique lyrical and blues guitar driven musical edge that makes Michael Schatte one of the best undiscovered songwriters of our times.” – Blues Matters!, U.K.
“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
“…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
“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