“In just over an hour of virtuosity, Michael Schatte creates a bridge between genres and makes the album Conundrum capable of connecting audiences across distant musical horizons. A daring feat indeed!”
Conundrum (2020) Duration: 65:59 min, 15 Tracks
Written by Fred Delforge
Tuesday, December 22, 2020, Le Zicazine (www.zicazic.com)
Finalist at the 2015 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Michael Schatte is a multi-faceted artist who shines as much in the electric blues rock genre as he does performing fingerstyle acoustic music, and who has built a reputation throughout North America and beyond by doing so. A songwriter full of ideas, a virtuoso guitarist, a genius multi-instrumentalist and a singer with an engaging voice, the Canadian returns with a new album on which he is accompanied by various musicians, notably Ryan Spratt on bass, Chad David and Riley O’Connor on drums and Carson Freeman on saxophone. Schatte invites us to follow him on an expedition through blues, rock, celtic and a number of other styles that delight one after another on this musical smorgasbord. Violin, dulcimer, mandolin, Rhodes and also Wurlitzer merge and mingle on musical morsels that tackle questions of sex, lust, rivalry and even History with a capital H, often with a dose of humour, and with sounds that invoke the music of the ancients while being cutting-edge and unmistakably modern at the same time. While the variety of instruments and quality of arrangements are real joys for the listener here, above all else it’s Michael Schatte’s guitar playing that demands respect for its obvious sophistication but also its eclecticism, the virtuoso proving himself especially effective in red-hot boogies but also in much more original and even unexpected registers. It’s difficult to resist the lure of “Water In The Kettle”, “Dry Black Power”, “Please Don’t Dance With My Brother”, “Come On Down”, “In the Cold Hard Here and Now” and also “Bread, Water, Love”, co-written with John B. Lee who is featured on the track, and “Good King Richard,” a medley of traditional tunes arranged by the artist and enhanced with a composition by Richard Thompson. In just over an hour of virtuosity, Michael Schatte creates a bridge between genres and makes the album Conundrum capable of connecting audiences across distant musical horizons. A daring feat indeed!
Translated from the original French.