Michael Kelsey
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Michael Kelsey

Band Rock Acoustic


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"Michael uses an arsenal of electronics, his Taylor 615, and his voice to create layers of sonic adventures that challenge the limits of acoustic guitar music." -Taylor Guitars

"A fearless experimenter, Kelsey is an acoustic guitarist who weaves a multitude of unusual sounds and rhythms into his patchwork quilt of work. Part performance artist and part virtuoso musician. Kelsey takes the widest possible variety of music and makes it his own." -Nuvo Magazine,Indianapolis, IN

"After sets by Neal Schon and Steve Vai Michael Kelsey takes the stage. His combination of percussive, Michael Hedges-like playing and Junior Brown-style de-and re-tuning shows that he is indeed a viable "Guitarzilla." -MATT WEITZ - The Dallas Morning News

"…Galloping guitar work with significant crossover appeal."-Dirty Linen Magazine

"To call the structure in his hands a guitar completely misses the point." -Fred Kraus, The Dayton Daily

"People are going to see more of him, this man is going to have the opportunity to communicate." -Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, of Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan fame.

"An astonishing performer..." - John Wesley Harding, folk artist

"… like Cirque Du Soleil on acoustic guitar." -David Wilcox, folk artist Michael Kelsey - Quotes

Michael Kelsey is a barefoot troubadour with an obvious and extremely rare understanding of music theory. With a Jackson Pollack-type command of variable samples, Kelsey constructed a tangled collage based on his comprehension of the objects surrounding him and the capacity of his own instruments.

On a Sunday night when most bars sit either closed or empty, the cabaret seating at Birdy's was filled with a mesmerized crowd. Playing two sets with reocurring vocalist Tevi Tarver, Kelsey illustrated the difference between the basic idea of a musician and the true passion of a performer.

Somewhere between performance art and music composition, Kelsey creates elborate soundscapes that defy the regular boundaries of song-writing structure. A drum track, a crescendoing melody of random samples and vocal passes looped on the fly are layered one after another and mixed in the composition. Yielding a Peter Gabriel Secret World-type experimentation in texture, Kelsey even pulled sounds from beyond the stage by jumping to the floor and tapping on anything from bottles and bar stools to video games and the ATM.

Kelsey's soundtrack of experimentation was woven with more traditionally-composed
songs throughout with the leading vocals of Tevi Tarver. Tarver has a strong range and uncontrived soul in his voice, leading rich original melodies as well as modern classic
tracks such as "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac and R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It" played at double speed. Yes, double speed. An amazing highlight for the evening was watching Kelsey change a snapped guitar string within 45 seconds without breaking the flow of the song.

It's hard to detect how much of his music is premeditated or improvised. Michael Kelsey is a masterful entertainer with a tangible ease in front of a crowd.

-Danicia Johnson (Moxy)
- Nuvo Magazine


Five Live (DVD)
2004 H/Note Records

2003 H/Note Records

1. Crazy Straw
2. Old Friend
3. Wild Blue Ride
4. Soul Search
5. Time
6. Awakenings
7. Angel's Dreaming
8. Shaman's Trance
9. Dressed In Burgandy
10. Under the Waves
11. Breathe

Falling Into Place
2001 H/Note Records

1. So Complicated
2. Falling
3. Sarah
4. Simply Said
5. Charade
6. One People
7. Inside Out
8. Dreaming In Color
9. Waterfall
10. Love's Last Breath
11. Each Other's Angels
12. New Day

Michael Kelsey
1998 H/Note Records

1. The Funky Farm
2. Old Man
3. Overland
4. Mama Song
5. Satellite
6. Pulse
7. Illusion of Fire
8. A Deeper Blue
9. Vivid
10. In Your Eyes
11. Final Thoughts

1996 H/Note Records

1. Life Mural
2. Mind's Eye View
3. 25 Years
4. Words of Another Kind
5. Gruvency
6. The Frosted Side
7. Midnight Voices
8. Circles and Slow Motion
9. Soul Dance
10. Rain Whispers
11. Electric Elves
12. Traveler's High



Winner of 2004 "Guitarmaggedon"
(Guitar Center's search for the nations best unsigned guitarist).

MICHAEL KELSEY cannot be limited to a simple description. When you listen to his music and see him perform live you're witnessing more than a just another singer-songwriter. You're watching a rhythmic, inspired guitarist and performance artist who brews soul, funk and even a little bit of the blues into a guitar festival of organic sound. Multi-instrumentalist Kelsey has been known to blend many musical genres with fervour and grace. When he hits the stage to perform, he plays every inch of his guitar and makes it sing, soar, pop and ping--by strumming it, pounding it and pulling every part of it or anything else an arm's length or foot kick away. He has created a style that he described best as "progressive-aggressive acoustic guitar," and he has only begun to make a first impression.

Born and raised in Lafayette, Indiana, he began his musical journey weaving in and out of successful area bands as lead guitarist or bassist. Later he opened and ran a thriving recording studio, which after five years he retired in order to enable him to embark freely on his career as a solo artist.

His naturally soulful vocal illuminates carefully chosen lyrics that make his songs shimmer and shine. He plays expressively and manipulates the guitar to create a melodic fusion of alternate tunings and unorthodox hand positions allowing for him to achieve a full sound. The true beauty is in the way the song, the sound and the motion of his music unites. The songs, especially the lush instrumentals, can be reminiscent of the late, great Michael Hedges, but boast Kelsey's personal percussive stamp, exceptional arrangement and deliberate instrumentation.

His live performances are particularly moving. Sometimes he sounds as if he's deftly playing more than one guitar. At a Kelsey show audience members may actually lose themselves in the moment and forget they are listening to one person. They can be tapping their foot one minute, in a deep trance the next, then bursting into laughter.

"There is a five piece band in my head. They all have different tastes in music and they are all trying to escape at the same time through my hands, feet and mouth. I hang onto an acoustic guitar and see what happens," Kelsey sums up his stage show aptly. He is well versed in the art of entertaining and at every show he creates a rare army of sound that comes from one man, a voice and an acoustic guitar.

"I try to make each show an experience, rather than a one way conversation," explains Kelsey. "I like taking chances and finding something that wasn't there before. Even when it's bad….it's good. It's not the result, as much as the adventure getting there."

Whether he's creating a song spontaneously for a lucky lady in the front row, telling a story complete with sound effects, or letting an inspired moment move his fingers around the fret board, Kelsey never performs the same show twice.

After performing an opening set for folk artist David Wilcox, David described Kelsey's show as "Cirque Du Soleil on acoustic guitar."

Kelsey’s abilities have enabled him to be noticed by many. A finalist in Guitar Player Magazine's national competition and winner of Guitar Center’s "Guitarmageddon," chosen as best unsigned guitarist out of over 3000 entrants nationwide says it all. This allowed him to be apart of Eric Clapton’s Crossroads 2004 performance where he shared the stage with many of the guitar legends such as Santana, Jeff Beck, Steve Vai, and Eric Clapton. He has toured nationally with Blind Melon and Dishwalla and his diversity as a performer has opened shows for artist from The Doobie Brothers & 38 Special to The Bodeans & The Cowboy Junkies to Tantric.

Bullet - Michael Kelsey
· Five Live (DVD) 2004
· November 2003
· Falling Into Place 2001
· Michael Kelsey 1998
· Gruvency 1996

Shared Stages
· Blind Melon - Support for National Tour
· Dishwalla - Support for National Tour
· Support
The Doobie Brothers, 38 Special, Tim Reynolds, Cowboy Junkies, The Bodeans, John Wesly Harding, David Wilcox

· Winner - Guitar Center's "Guitarmageddon" competition. Chosen best unsigned guitarist out of 3000 entrants
· Finalist - Guitar Player Magazine's national competition
· Performed at Eric Clapton Crossroads Festival - Cotton Bowl - Dallas, TX
Supporting Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Santana, Pat Metheny, B.B King.

"Michael uses an arsenal of electronics, his Taylor 615, and his voice to create layers of sonic adventures that challenge the limits of acoustic guitar music." -Taylor Guitars

"A fearless experimenter, Kelsey is an acoustic guitarist who weaves a multitude of unusual sounds and rhythms into his patchwork quilt of work. Part performance artist and part virtuoso musician. Kelsey takes the widest possible variety of music and makes it his own." -Nuvo Magazin