“Old songs are more than tunes. They are little houses in which our hearts once lived.”
A venue operator in California refers to Jaime Michaels as a “songwriters songwriter”. He came late to the craft having enjoyed a long career as a covers artist both as a soloist and, for a while, full tilt rock and roll band lead singer. Not being much of a radio fan, he chose his covers carefully…sometimes something recognizable like Dylan or the Beatles, sometimes just damned fine songs he happened to run across from lesser known writers like Canadian Murray MacLauchlan. He sang the hell out of all of them.
Something happened a few years back when he moved west far from his east coast roots to a new home in Santa Fe, NM. Maybe it was just the change of scenery, something in the big western night sky…but the songs started coming. Finely crafted. Tuneful. Both spirited and spiritual…songs of kindness and true emotion. Heʼs recorded ten solo albums so far, each filled with finely crafted songs that showcase his passionate voice and the varied musical influences heʼs absorbed over the years. His 2011 release, “the man with the time machine” was named Album of the Year by the New Mexico Music Awards. He won the same award in 2014 for his album “unknown blessings”. That recording was released at Jaime’s concert at the 2013 Kerrville Folk Festival. The project was made up of primarily cover tunes written by artists with whom Jaime shares a love of the late night song circles at Kerrville. All money from the sale of the album is being donated to the Kerrville Folk Music Foundation for use at their summer Music Camp for Teens. In addition to New Mexico "album of the year", the album also won "song of the year for "dirty wine" (w/Annie Wenz) and producer Jono Manson won the "Norman Petty producer of the year" title.
A new Jono Manson produced album called "once upon a different time" was released in the summer of 2016 both in the US (frumdahart/con artisti) and Italy (Appaloosa Records). So far it has spent three months on the American Folk-DJ charts, peaking in the top ten. Several tracks from the album are receiving airplay in the US, Australia, New Zealand and a half dozen European countries. It’s being well received by critics around the world. Future plans call for a European tour beginning in Italy in January of 2017.
Jaime’s travels take him around the US and occasionally to Europe, most recently 2 tours of Italy, playing house concerts, festivals, and arts venues. Just Jaime and his wonderfully worn Taylor guitar. And the songs.
As Mark S.Tucker remarks in his FAME review of Jaimeʼs album, "the man with the time machine", “Michaels watches the side currents of life, not the hurtlingly frantic noise and images…far more the missed opportunities, the mistakes, the wrinkles in the heart. We may be living through the 21st century, but work like his takes us back to a Mayberry that's a lot scruffier around the edges, an indeterminate era when our fantasies about such things danced a little differently.”
“It’s astounding the things you can pick up sitting around the campfire at the Kerrville Folk Extraviganza. Jaime Michaels has assembled a collection of some of the finest songwriters on the folk music carousel for Unknown Blessings including this gem (“dirty wine”) penned by Michaels and Annie Wenz. This isn’t ‘train spotter’ folk music folks. Dirty Wine is a crafty blend of folk, jazz and shuffling blues with hints of Chet Atkins, Wes Montgomery and Lionel Hampton. Tasty!”theAlternateRoot.com
“Jaime’s “Unknown Blessings” contains many sweet surprises. Whether he’s covering another’s song or one of his own, Jaime brings energy and joy to the music. Blessings, indeed.”Wanda Adams Fisher” – WAMC/NY
“…looks like the muse has found a homeCaroline Aiken
“. . . Jaime Michaels’ use of language is uncommonly exquisite. His songs and writing have the hand rubbed luster of universally personal feelings. When they touch you, you feel as if you’ve held them before, then you wonder if you really have.”Two Louie’s Magazine
“Unknown Blessings is a heartelt love letter to the artists and songs that have come to define the Kerrville Folk Festival. These 14 finely wrought tunes, two of which Michaels co-wrote , are a reminder that evenin this age of hipster groove-folk and layer cake production, in the end, it’s all about the song” April Reese – journalist and KBAC DJ
"...this gem was penned by Michaels and Annie Wenz. This isn't 'train spotter' folk music folks. dirty wine is a crafty blend of folk, jazz and shuffling blues with hints of Chet Atkins, Wes Montgomery and Lionel Hampton. Tasty!"
a co-write with my buddy Bruce Donnola
(that's Andrew Hardin on electric guitar)
that's Christine Albert and Chris Gage on the harmonies
photo by Baron Wolman
once upon a different time
photo by Michael Delheim
1: What artist would you most love to work with?
2: What instrument brings you the most joy?
Cajon (if it's being played right)
3: What was the worst advice?
on some days...see "best music advice" answer
4: What was your first concert?
Gene Pitney (w/Sonny & Cher opening)
5: What/where is the best road food?
anything on the menu at Sasso di Dante located in the shadow of the Duomo in Florence, Italy ...
6: What’s the best music advice you ever got?
"Get yourself a cool hat and get the hell out of here" (i was a college kid majoring in cutting class & playing guitar...)
7: Who is your most surprising inspiration?
the one you don't see coming...the everyday encounter that slaps you upside the head