Michael Messer Biography
Being English with an international reputation for blues slide guitar is a rarity in itself, but Messer's obsessive appetite for knowledge of the art is virtually unequalled. By harnessing elements of the American blues, from pre-war Mississippi Delta styles to post-war Chicago sounds, and blending them with contemporary influences, with slide guitar as the common link, Messer creates music which is highly individual, original and universally accessible.
Voted `Acoustic Blues Artist Of The Year' in 1991 at the British Blues Awards, Michael has an outstanding reputation amongst musicians and generally people regarded to be `in the know', without ever having had the proper support necessary to introduce his music a wider audience. Instead of getting the wider recognition he has deserved for a long time, Michael has unfortunately had to put up with he irritations of a string of broken down deals and fools promises, until he met the Catfish Records collective.
As well as being an accolade to his world class acoustic blues playing, the British Blues Award was also an endorsement for his capacity to incorporate styles other than blues into his music. Ideas borrowed from Hawaiian slide guitar, reggae, jazz and King Sunny Ade's worldbeat sound all illuminate his playing. The latter style was particularly evident on the
breakthrough album that won him his initial strong notices, Slidedance, released in 1990. The same description could equally apply to his 1993 collaboration with Terry Clarke and Lubbock, Texas guitarist, Jesse Taylor, entitled Rhythm Oil. The tour that accompanied its release saw Messer experiment further with musical elements including house and reggae, with a version of Fred McDowell's `Worried Life' offering "an outstanding distillation of blues and contemporary music"...( Virgin Encyclopedia of the Blues ). Indeed Michael shares the rare honour of having had no less than the legendary Johnny Cash pen the sleeve notes for this critically acclaimed but fairly well kept secret album, Rhythm Oil.
Newtone Stringsr in conjunction with National Reso-PhonicO Guitars have a Michael Messer brand specifically made for the National steel guitar, which reflects the esteem in which he is held. These are the brand leaders in their field and used by most National steel players around the world. Check the relevant page on this website for more information.
1995 saw the release of Moonbeat, co-produced by `roots' king Ron Kavana. For this album Messer took his unique style of blending blues and worldbeat sounds even further, with Kavana's `back-woods' production style and seven songs written by Messer's long-time friend and collaborator Terry Clarke, Moonbeat is an unusual and very original album.
National Avenue, released in 1997 saw a return to the Mississippi delta blues influences that started Messer playing slide guitar. Ten of the songs were written or co-written with Terry Clarke.
"Michael Messer is one of the finest slide guitarists and blues music innovators that Britain has ever produced."
Jim Driver-Time Out-London
2001...Latest update!...."King Guitar", the new album on Catfish Records was released in the UK & Europe on March 19th and will be released in the USA on April 10th. This is a collection of fine songs that are sure to please a whole bunch of people who have never had the opportunity to hear this craftsman at work. See the press clippings page for reviews & quotes.
Michael Messer's significance as a blues artist is confirmed by his inclusion in `The Virgin Encyclopedia of the Blues' by Colin Larkin. Messer's name appears alongside many of the blues `greats' who influenced his playing.
As well as his own music, Messer has produced albums by the legendary Venice Beach singer, Ted Hawkins, and the undisputed King of Palm Wine guitar, S.E.Rogie. Respectively, I Love You Too, and The New Sounds of S.E.Rogie.
Michael Messer has performed concerts, club dates and festivals all over Europe, including radio & TV appearances in Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia, Italy, the UK & Canada.