Michael Massey    Composer Singer Songwriter Pianist Performer Producer

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Rick’s Cafe
The Present CD Review - December 2006

When an artist rediscovers his passion, he often traces back to a point in his life when he first discovered how deeply moving music is, returning to a simpler, more straightforward approach. For Mike Massey it’s his love of the piano, and fans of his music are the better for it.

It’s been quite an active time for Massey.  In 2005 he released his first solo piano disc, Be Careful How You Say Pianist, a beautiful statement of perseverance.  Later the same year he released a pop masterpiece in Attack Of The Delicious, paying homage to all the great music he grew up listening to.

His latest offering, The Present, comprised of eleven Christmas standards and two originals, isn’t as different an album for him as one might think.  Massey has always wanted to make an album of Christmas songs and he spoke of how much work went into the preparation.  That’s because Massey doesn’t just replay the standards, he takes possession of them.  The songs were rehearsed to the point of familiarity as far as the chord progressions go, and then were improvised and recorded in one or two takes.  He therefore puts his own indelible stamp on every selection.  read more

Rick’s Cafe
Attack Of The Delicious CD Review - November 2005

Attack of the Delicious is the second CD release from Mike Massey in 2005 following, this summer’s release of Be Careful How You Say Pianist, and it’s a beautiful collection of his solo piano pieces. Attack of the Delicious is decidedly different, an album of pop and rock songs with band arrangements. At times Massey is the band, manning all or most of the instruments, so as with Be Careful How You Say Pianist, there is a very personal touch injected into every nuance of the music. Personal messages also adorn the credits for the songs, many of which are dedicated to people in Massey’s life.

 Some outstanding guitar work can be found throughout this recording, courtesy of Michael John Ripp, who rips a very Brian May-like guitar solo on “Silent Illusion.”  Drums on several of the tracks are handled by longtime associate and fellow Chaser/Boys in White member Tony Cerniglia, who was also in Seventeen Rhinos. Steve Johnson, who was also in Chaser and Seventeen Rhinos, engineered the album. So things really come full circle in many ways.
 
 The sound quality on Attack of the Delicious is outstanding. The mix is crystal c l e a r, the bass warm and full.  But it’s the performances that stand out and the excellent level of song craftsmanship.  read more

The Capital Times - 12/13/06
For your in-laws, when you want to seem classy: Mike Massey, "The Present," Spike Records

Local pianist Mike Massey does some elegant interpretations of "true-meaning-of-Christmas" holiday faves ("God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Silent Night," and "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear") for solo piano, all skillful versions that let the power of the melodies shine through. There are also two original instrumentals -- the title track is meant to evoke a soldier home from the war on Christmas Eve, while "Snowshine" is a gorgeous track perfect for a still winter's afternoon.  This is one Christmas CD you won't mind listening to until the thaw comes.

The Capital Times - 5/18/05

“...Massey, enjoying his role as stay-at-home dad, wrote the songs that comprise “Be Careful How You Say Pianist” at home, mixed them at Randy Green’s recording studio in Cottage Grove, and put them on a back burner until this past Christmas, when he played the songs for friends whose opinions he respected and they encouraged him to release them.“

Sea Of Tranquility.org - 12/19/06
Massey, Michael: The Present

“Listening to The Present, a mesmerizing 70-minute disc of instrumental-piano holiday music, it’s hard to believe that multi-instrumentalist Michael Massey was once an early-'80s hard rocker (his Wisconsin-based band Chaser cut a demo for Atlantic Records and competed on Ed McMahon's Star Search). Or that he released an award-winning, well-honed and downright brilliant collection of Bowie-esque pop nuggets in 2005 called Attack of the Delicious.

Instead, on The Present, Massey offers warm, elegant and often delicate piano interpretations of 11 traditional holiday favorites (and even an Advent classic with “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”), plus two originals. The title track, according to Massey’s liner notes, musically tells the tale of a soldier making an unexpected return home from war in the midst of a family holiday gathering, while “Snowshine” conjures images of pristine, moonlit snow. Surprisingly, one of the most effective piano treatments here is of a song about a drum. On “The Little Drummer Boy,” Massey’s left hand keeps a staccato rhythm while his right hand plays the fluid melody. Throughout, his style is crisp and light, the arrangements respectful and well-paced.

The Present is, indeed, a gift — a subdued holiday treat that makes the perfect soundtrack for a peaceful, stay-at-home evening.

Reviewer: Michael Popke
Score: 

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