"A guitarist of eclectic sensibilities and delicate technique. His music circles the globe in imagistic compositions." -Kimberly Hass, "Echoes" Executive Producer

"...the acoustic guitar player infusing his original melodies and Indian scales with a Celtic lilt." -John Diliberto, PRI radio host

"Michael Mandrell is a stellar guitarist and composer who strums your soul, transporting you to the vast, edifying and whimsical depths of your imagination.  He is a purely riveting, distinctive and mezmerizing performer." -Ric Sharette, Music Director, Salt Lake City, UT 



 

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Notes From the Road

A Little Southern Odyssey for October 


Greetings from the warm and languid Gulf Coast!

What a great month to be back in my hometown of Houston, TX. to see family and old friends and play a few gigs. The weather is really great here this time of year, not too hot anymore like during the summer months. I visited the little Unity church of Brazosport down in Brazoria, TX. near the coast and played for their Sunday service. What nice folks, and with that good ol' laid back south Texas coast vibe, the town reminded me of my childhood visits to the beach in this area. With old oak trees draped in long Spanish moss, houses built in the 50's with old fashioned lawn chairs out front, lots of farmland and cotton fields and a few tacky painted tires in yards, it seems like time forgot this place. Nowadays most folks around here live nearby in Lake Jackson, a more modern city, where many commute to Houston for work.

Ah mon cheri, then it's off to Louisiana next door, playing for the Sunday service at the new, burgeoning Center for Spiritual Living of Southeast Louisiana in Baton Rogue. My old friend Rev. Larrye Heyl, who I know from the New Thought Center for Spiritual Living in Lake Oswego near Portland, moved back to her home state and started this new center. It will be good to get a dose of warm, funky and very lovely southern energy from the cultural hub of the bayou state. And I'm damn sure gonna eat my share of good Cajun food while I'm there!

Then back to Houston playing at the venerable First Unitarian Church of Houston in the museum district, home of very fine music, art and culture. It's an honor to be back after quite a few years and to be performing in their beautiful sanctuary again.

I'm also going to be recording a few new guitar tunes while I'm here at my dear friend Erich Avinger's studio, where I recorded "Returning and Returned" and Ruth Back recorded her recently released CD, "Closer than Danger". Erich gets the best pro audio sound in Houston in my opinion, it will be good to be in front of his array of German recording microphones again.

After that I'm heading home, stopping in Denver at the Boulder Valley Unitarian church in Lafayette, CO., which is sandwiched in between Boulder and Denver. It's my first time at this congregation and I'm looking forward to meeting all the folks there.

So see you on down the road, there's lot's of fantastic November and December events coming up, I'll be posting those here soon. So I'll say goodbye for now with a little saying they use down this way....Ya'll be cool!.





 

Howdy Ya'll! A little story from my most recent Texas sojourn 

Just got back from a short two week jaunt down to Houston, TX, my hometown, to be a sidekick to Ruth Beck who started the initial recording tracks of her new CD. On a previous trip back in July I introduced her to Erich Avinger, my old freind and ace jazz/rock guitarist who has been on the Texas music scene and beyond for many years now.  Erich has a great little boutique home studio with fantastic sounds, great personal attention, it's simple and comfortable with nothing but  pro audio the whole way. A major inspiration to my music, he artfully recorded my solo guitar project, "Returning and Returned".

I thought Erich would be a nice engineer/producer match for Ruth with her Celtic harp and original tunes, so off we went to Texas with the Dusty Strings Celtic floor harp in a rather large custom made shipping box. Southwest airlines let us check it on as over sized baggage, simple enough. Getting it in and out of airports with our little hand cart was quite a chore, but we somehow managed to get it to where it needed to be. The photos show the harp (and Ruth) arriving safely to the Houston airport, and the vintage Neumann U-47 microphone Erich acquired for her vocals. The recording sessions sounded great, Ruth sounded awesome, and with some extra time needed up ahead to add guitar and percussion tracks, and then with the usual mixing and mastering, expect to hear about her new CD by early next year most likely.
We three are always up for adventure, so we took a break from recording and made an overnight road trip up to E. Texas to Nacogdoches, my old college town, playing a rowdy night of blues at a performance and book release party, hosted by our old friend and amazing artist, Charlie Jones. He makes handmade books these days, more at www.lananacreekpress.com. His most recent is "My Black Angel", a celebration of the great blues performers, old and new, with poems by Kim Addonizio. She flew in from San Francisco to be there that night for the book release party, she read her great poetry while we jammed on the blues. Tell you what, Erich rocked on the electric guitar in true Texas blues fashion, and Ruth can really sing the blues when she wants to. I hung out the best I could somewhere in between on acoustic rhythm guitar. After the show we  finished the night off with a real homemade barbeque dinner. Hoo boy was that fun.

We finished our stay with more studio work, family visits, and some good New Orleans style Gulf seafood to boot.

Good to be back in the NW after all that, Ruth and I are jazzed to be heading up to Port Townsend, WA. this weekend for a cool show (see blog below), we sure hope to be seeing you on down the road this fall.

Upcoming Concert in Port Townsend 

I'm very excited to be reuniting with my dear friend and fellow musician, harpist David Michael for an evening concert in Port Townsend, WA. Hosted by the Port Townsend Unity Spiritual Enrichment Center, the night of original music will feature not just one, but TWO harps as my music partner, singer-songwriter & Celtic harpist Ruth Beck will be adding her unique sound as well! If you live around the area or are looking for an excuse to get out of town for the weekend to take in the breathtaking scenery and some great music, too, please join us. Concert starts at 7:30pm. For more info, please visit www.unitypt.org


Travels in Texas 

What a whirlwind the Fall season is off to! In late August I had the great honor of being asked to be the featured guest guitarist for the debut of Paul Winter's "Missa Gaia" (Earth Mass) performance. The concert was spearheaded and directed by the talented composer & conductor Susan Peck in collaboration with the Friends of the Columbia Gorge and was funded by the Regional Arts & Culture Council. The concert featured a nine-piece music ensemble as well as 65-member choir, and debuted in downtown Portland at the beautiful First Unitarian Church, to much acclaim.



Before I knew it, I was back on the plane and headed to Texas for a few weeks of concerts, collaborations and recording sessions. Looking forward to landing back in Portland soon! Happy trails ~Michael

 

Back in the Great Pacific Northwest! 


Hey All & welcome to the new website! After a busy summer of touring in the Southwest through New Mexico & Colorado it's great to be landing back where I call home in Portland, Oregon. Keep in touch for this month's upcoming music events & performances. Hope to see you around! 

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Upcoming Concerts & Happenings

Port Orchard House Concert with David Michael

Home of Larry Davis and Carmel Pennington, 1810 Wood Road SE, Port Orchard, WA. 98366

I'll be teaming up with my good friend David Michael (www.purnimaproductions.com) on his amazing Celtic harp for an evening of world fusion tunes, songs and plenty of great stories.

From the hosts: 6:00pm Potluck & 7:00pm Concert hosted by Larry and Carmel at our home in Port Orchard, WA. at 1810 Woods Rd SE, 98366. We will gather at 6pm for a potluck and socializing; the music will start at 7pm. Please feel free to bring your favorite side dish/entree or drinks to share. (the grill will be hot for your use if needed). We are asking for a donation: $20 for the show. Seating is limited so please RSVP. For more information please call 360-440-7844 or email Carmel at Namaste2u@wavecable.com. We would love to see you here!

Pics From The Road