Michael Sheppard lives in a house of old phonographs. “It’s easy to knock your head on one of the horns if you're not paying attention,” says Sheppard. And paying attention is what Michael’s music is all about. From the vivid imagery of “Film Star”, to the simple wisdom of “The Art of Crying”, to the humor of “Honey, You’re Drunk”, Michael weaves old time changes and modern poetry into something truly American. His powerful stories draw listeners in and his rootsy, driving guitar style keeps them locked in.
At twenty-one Michael left the northeast to explore the wild west. “Those were magical years, trucking around the Rocky Mountains in the same Sportsman van that Bob Dylan and Joan Baez toured with in the ‘70s.” He landed in Santa Fe and stayed. “My adobe sits on the last bump of the Rockies. The songs I write are steeped in this place. Out here ‘country music’ means something different.” Indeed, it’s music that sounds like the landscape looks - natural, full of detail and contrast.
Quality fingerstyle guitarists are a rarity on the Americana scene. A student of Rolf Cahn, guitar teacher to Jerry Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez, Michael makes his guitar chug like Doc Watson and ring like Joni Mitchell. His fingerstyle playing, thoughtful lyrics, and engaging stage performances have gained the praise of grammy winning songwriter Steve Seskin who says, “Michael combines strong writing and interesting chords into powerful songs.” Berklee College of Music’s Songwriting Chair Bonnie Hayes approached Michael after a performance and said simply, “I love your songs!” Vocal coach Ron Browning (Alison Krauss, Keb Mo) calls Michael “A true artist [who] tells great stories - the kind that are always needed here in Nashville.”
In 2005, Michael brought his vocals, fingerstyle guitar and Dobro work to the Americana group The Propellers, along with Santa Fe musicians Cris Phillips (Cafe Mocha), Zeke Severtson (Bill Hearne Trio), and Dave Devlin (Higher Ground). The Propellers enjoyed the stages of both the Albuquerque Folk Fest and the Durango Meltdown. Michael also performed in folk, blues, and bluegrass duos with mandolin virtuoso Richard Hardy and guitarist Eric Carlson. In his new harmony rich string band Full Owl, Michael joins bassist Jack Kotz and singer/songwriter Julia Meeks.