Michael Daves

Big Sky Music Series, Trumansburg, NY

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Michael Daves grew up playing bluegrass in the grand old tradition of staying up late & singing loud. Although he’s since moved north, the Southern roots permeate his music, however traditional or experimental. Heralded as “a leading light of the New York bluegrass scene” by the New York Times, Daves has garnered attention for his work with Chris Thile, Steve Martin, Tony Trischka, and others in addition to his solo performances.

Daves’ most recent project is a two-album set, Orchids and Violence on Nonesuch Records. Both discs are produced by Daves and have identical track listing of mostly traditional bluegrass songs. The first features straightforward interpretations of them and was recorded live to tape in a 19th-century church by Daves and a band of roots-music innovators: bassist Mike Bub, fiddler Brittany Haas, mandolinist Sarah Jarosz, and banjo player Noam Pikelny. The second disc was recorded in Daves' home studio and includes drums and electric instruments, mostly played by Daves, taking a raw, experimental rock approach to the same old-time material. "The identical track listing makes for a good comparison study," says the New York Times music critic Nate Chinen in his review, "and to his credit, it can be hard to pick which version of a tune is best."

Daves previously recorded bluegrass standards on Sleep with One Eye Open, his Nonesuch debut, a duo session with mandolinist Chris Thile (Punch Brothers, Nickel Creek) that earned the pair a 2011 Grammy nomination.

Although he is best known as a roots musician, Daves gravitated toward experimental music and jazz while studying at Hampshire College in Massachusetts. Relocating to Brooklyn in 2003, he began to crave the social interaction and musical challenges of bluegrass: "In Western Massachusetts, I was mostly doing jazz. By the time I moved to New York, I was ready to leave that behind, get back to my personal roots in bluegrass music. There were good jam sessions in New York and I was excited to reenter a regular jamming culture in the city. And I was getting back into rock music, too. The Brooklyn scene in 2003 and 2004 was pretty fertile. There was a lot of great, kind of raw, experimental rock music happening at that time, drawing me in, scratching an itch."

Daves is also devoted teacher with over twenty five years of experience whose instructional style is aimed at helping students develop and refine their own natural musical sensibilities while exploring a wealth of American roots traditions, particularly bluegrass. In 2016 he launched an online school in bluegrass vocals on ArtistWorks.com where he helps students around the world learn the intricacies bluegrass singing style as well as harmony singing and ear training.

Big Sky Music Studio

Music recording studio and venue

9732 rt 96  Trumansburg, NY  14886