Michael Reinhart

Michael Reinhart

 Montréal, Quebec, CAN

Contemporary urban folk, with eyes-wide-open lyrics melded with intricate fingerstyle & flat-pick guitar work. Songs of life, love & work told in varying colours of folk, country, jazz, blues & world music influences. The slowest most lyrical love song to the edgiest rhythmic rant, or instrumental


[version française dessous]

Before he was even able to speak, Michael was already immersed in the sounds of Hank Williams, Patsy Cline & Chet Atkins, the twang & scratch of the needle in the grooves of the old 78rpm records making a lasting impression on him. Son of a country-western singer, with a bit of the 'gitan' thrown in for good measure, Michael studied the accordion already at an age when he could barely see over the top of it, tapping out the strains of Beethoven, Schubert & Strauss. In an act of adolescent rebellion, he quit the accordion & a year or two later bought a coveted acoustic guitar. He was immediately hooked on the wood, metal & tortoise shell & the sounds he found at the ends of his ten fingers. From that point there was no looking back.

Michael Reinhart, a graduate of The Ontario College of Art, also studied experimental art for a year at the studio school Art’s Sake Inc where he discovered jazz. He has a wide & varied experience in the worlds of both visual art & music. Michael has also designed stages, lighting & video installations for multi-disciplinary performance & dance, including Woman As Landscape, extinction, circle & CHALK.

Michael Reinhart studied accordion for eight years & is a self-taught fingerstyle guitarist. Since 1982, Mr. Reinhart has collaborated extensively with various directors, dancers, choreographers & musicians in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, New York & the UK primarily as a composer, but also as stage & lighting designer, videographer & photographer. He has worked on scores for more than twenty choreographies by long-time collaborator Lin Snelling, the most recent projects being Performing Book, Loop Thing, extinction, circle, Woman As Landscape & IAMMYOWNRAIN. A soundtrack CD, Woman As Landscape, was released in 2000. Michael created music scores for the short films Ningiura (2000) & Dear Little One in 2005, as well as the award-winning (Best New Feature / Toronto International Film Festival 2008) feature film Before Tomorrow, by director Marie-Hélène Cousineau & his music was included in Kiviak vs. Canada, the latest documentary by Zacharias Kunuk.

He completed the recording of an album in 2002 in collaboration with nine Inuit singers entitled Quaraaluktuq, creating compositions inspired by traditional Inuit songs, incorporating throatsinging & his impressions of the Arctic during a visit in 2000. Quaraaluktuq features the voices and songs of Susan Avingaq, the group Unikatuatit, plus throat-singer Rhonda Uttak, with instrumental arrangements & original compositions by Michael. The latter was adapted into a multi-disciplinary performance, Qabaret Quaraaluktuq, presented at O Patro Výš & Théâtre La Chapelle in Montreal, 2003-04. He also recorded a yet unreleased collection called White Desert Blue Shadows with Toronto percussionist Barry Prophet around the same time, & an improvised session with RAO, an acoustic world/jazz trio with percussionist Ganesh Anandan & Australian multi-instrumentalist Colin Offord, entitled Man or Beast in 2003. The choreography-document 'extinction', a multi-disciplinary collaboration with choreographer Lin Snelling, was presented by Carbone 14 at Usine ‘C’ in Montreal in 2004, wherein Michael created the music score along with video, lighting & set design. The same year saw the creation of 'circle', presented at La Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault, in which he created a kinetic stage design, designed lights & performed.

In 2007, he toured in New England in a dance/music improvisation show CHALK/Dancing Across Borders, as well in the UK in the summer as a singer-songwriter. That fall he performed in a Folquébec showcase at the OCFF conference in London Ontario, & was invited to perform for the 40th Anniversary of the Yellow Door in Montreal, Canada's longest-running folk club. In 2008, 2009 & 2011, he collaborated with dance artists Peter Bingham, Rob Kitsos & Lin Snelling in Resolutions at EDAM Studio Theatre in Vancouver where he has also performed at Café Montmartre, Rime & the Lyceum. The same show was reprised at StageLab at the Timms Centre for the Arts in Edmonton in 2012 as reDirect.

Having performed in NYC in March 2008, Michael then made a shortl tour to BC in May & then headed back east for several dates, among them The Cameron & GATE 403 in Toronto & the Montreal Fringe Festival. The summer of 2009 saw Michael travel to the UK where he gave a workshop with Lin Snelling at the Battersea Arts Centre in London & then he was in creative residency in Limassol Cyprus for two weeks where he improvised & recorded enough new material with Mediterranean influences for a subsequent album of instrumental guitar, entitled Cyprus Songs. A limited edition (CD) of these 14 pieces was released in September 2011.

Michael then worked on new compositions, fingerstyle guitar, musical accompaniment & a kinetic song project Loop Thing with Lin Snelling which was presented at the ARTery in Edmo


smile for the camera

Written By: Michael Reinhart

smile for the camera / november 21 ‘06

people since forever still keep having babies
downtown traffic snarls like a dog with rabies
your whole next year’s one big series of maybes
smile for the camera everybody say cheese

not really anything now much the same
got a different face, but the same old name
it gets to be like some kind of guessing game
trying to figure out what it is that you became

god died & went to heaven, no one’s seen him since
now the one & the other just like siamese twins
the whole world goes on & on committing their sins
out of sight is out of mind, now everybody wins

fastfood & billboards line the info highway
poor schmuck dying full-time monday thru friday
doesn’t take much talent to imagine the sky grey
seems nobody’s listening, no matter what a guy say


walk through a world now, seems so foreign
brain’s become toxic with poker, pop & porn
can’t recall his death, can’t remember being born
‘cause love’s never drawn blood, that beautiful thorn

kicking & screaming, you’re going to go down
in history with an indelible frown
strange thing is, the truth laid bare
ain't no one but you ever really going to care


© michael reinhart 2006 [h]and’sum music SOCAN

accident of love

Written By: Michael Reinhart

accident of love Nov 10 04

this accident of love
now you left the scene of the crime
this accident of love
you left me here doing time

you swerved into my line of vision
there wasn’t much I could do
I was faced with a difficult decision
while you just went rolling right through

love was not my first ambition
even though the chances are so few
but would I avoid a head-on collision
well maybe not with you

you were in my path, I was going too fast
couldn’t get out of the way
it’s not the first time & it won’t be the last
we’ll both live to see another day

I swear I saw your signal
but now you’re claiming there was none
your alibi’s anything but original
it just seems like a hit-&-run

this accident of love
I’m not sure it’s anyone’s fault
but it may have just been enough
to bring my life to a screaming halt

this accident of love
you’ve left the scene of the crime
this accident of love
you left me here doing time

© Michael Reinhart 2004 [h]and’sum music SOCAN

you alone

Written By: Michael Reinhart

you alone / september 9 2008

now if there’s a shadow of a doubt (girl) it’s not you
if there’s something I could not do without well
that would be you too

you alone you only you

now if there’s a name to say out loud girl it’s you
if there’s a taste that I like in my mouth well
that would be you too

you alone you only you

[break / instrumental]

play with fire with desire
girl let’s melt the ice
play with fire with desire
til the flame dies [repeat]

give you my time give you my eyes
write you a rhyme give you advice
pour you some wine tell you no lies
give me a sign girl

[break / instrumental]

now if there’s a light out in the dark girl it’s you
if there’s a nasty splinter in my heart well
that would be you too

you alone you only you

[break / instrumental]

© Michael Reinhart 2008 [h]and’sum music SOCAN


Written By: Michael Reinhart

Nola Sept/Oct 2005

Nola, she no stranger to death
she throwing firecrackers into the hurricane’s breath
she wake up tomorrow, & to her surprise
she black & blue & barely breathing ah (but) she still alive

‘Ole man river’s rhythm’s swollen & strong
& that old lake’s been holding up her pretty blue dress now far too long
the sky’s hell-bent on its own dark shade of the blues
living beneath the horizon, you better have a good excuse
mother nature’s temper ‘round these parts ain’t exactly news
yeah living beneath the horizon, (one day) you going pay your dues

oh no oh no oh no oh Nola [repeat]

no tradition (‘round) here of being afraid of the dark
it’s the daylight coming’s tinder waiting for a spark
now the devil he's in town & the good lord‘s long gone
& a rusty trumpet in the Quarter practise a funeral song

Nola why you do those crazy things that you do
no sense asking a stupid question just ‘cause something’s true
Nola why you singing the blues instead of playing that oldtime jazz
the whole world miss the way you used to shake your pretty little ass

you always been true to yourself & to nobody else
& there’s those folks got it in their little minds you got to do some time in hell
you're just shit out of luck, ain’t no nothing you done wrong
even your god-fearing neighbours up north ain’t always been so strong
& after all those saints ah they go marching on (& on & on)
a rusty trumpet in the Quarter still playing that funeral song

oh no oh no oh no oh Nola [repeat]

(the whole world miss the way you used to turn & smile & make a little pass)
the whole world miss the way you used to shake your pretty little ass

oh no oh no oh no oh Nola

© Michael Reinhart 2005 [h]and’sum music SOCAN

woman in the window

Written By: Michael Reinhart

woman in the window / may 20 2007

your careless kindness gone left me torn & bruised
your careful escape make me wish I could hate you

your beauty’s a weakness girl I’m just a human man
but my suspicion tells me there’s still some things you don’t understand

you give me such an ache girl right down to the bone
you got me so that I’m even afraid to be alone

we’ve already got what some take many years to find
guess I’ll never know just what was yours & how much was mine

woman in the window & just this glass between
some of your secrets were better left unseen

your legs all askew your pale hand against the glass
leaving your fingerprints all over what’s now the past

[instrumental break]

now it’s too late to take back the breath of what was said
you’re no longer just some fantasy flickering in my head

you say you’ve a knack for opening doors in someone else
but now that it’s open you won't step through it yourself

[[chorus] repeat last line]
leaving your fingerprints all over my past

© Michael Reinhart 2007 [h]and’sum music SOCAN


Written By: Michael Reinhart

lost&found / june 6 2007

I was born with a smile on my face
going to pay the price for the rest of my days
I been lost & found in this search for grace
& now I’m just making it up along the way

I was born of a country western singer, see
& a counterfeit gypsy
seems the open arms of misery
is where I was always meant to be

[chorus] ooh ooh falling out of the lap of luxury
ooh ooh into the arms of misery

obsession, my most faithful friend
you seem more like the enemy
you’re going to take me to an unkind end
for the whole damned world to see
confession, I got a soul to mend
this ain’t no comedy
somebody please wake me before I fall
into the open arms of misery, of misery

[chorus] & [instrumental]

save me from the lethal charms
of a faulty memory
somebody please pinch me real hard before I
disappear into some dark reverie

see I was born with a smile on my face
going to pay the price for the rest of my days
I been lost & found in this search for grace
& now I’m just making it up along the way up along the way

[chorus] x 2

© Michael Reinhart 2007 [h]and’sum music SOCAN


-Night Traffic. 1997 cassette, fingerstyle instrumentals.
-Woman As Landscape. 1999. CD soundtrack. Instrumental acoustic compositions.
-Quaraaluktuq. 2003. Michael Reinhart & Singers of Nunavut. CD 11 songs. (www.bluetracks.ca)
-Snake Eyes (single) from 'extinction' soundtrack
-Green Xmas (single) from collection Green Xmas
-Neon Caravan (single) from collection Green Xmas
-Belle et Bête (single) from Man or Beast by RAO
-Birthday (single) from Performing Book/Chapter 5
-Cyprus Songs. 2011. Improvised, instrumental guitar compositions, making use of a loop modeler & acoustic guitar. Recorded in Limassol Cyprus, August 2009.
-lost&found. 2011. 11 songs, written & performed by Michael, featuring David Ryshpan & Jérémi Roy.
-eCHO. 2013. 12 songs, written & performed by Michael, featuring Alison Wedding on backup vocals, & other musicians.

For you listening pleasure, Check out streaming music at:

Set List

My set list varies to a degree from one show to the next depending on the venue & since I have very many songs to choose from. Generally I do about 90 minutes. But often I'll do an hour, or two sets of 45 minutes to an hour. All original songs & instrumentals. With the trio I will generally play my more upbeat & fast songs.