Michael Shay and The Texas Express perform mini-tour send-off and Brian Oberlin Portland farewell at the venerable Laurelthirst

Singer-songwriter Michael Shay and his “not-grass” quintet The Texas Express perform at Laurelthirst Public House, 2958 NE Glisan St. Wednesday, July 5 for a last performance with Brian Oberlin before Oberlin moves out of state and the trio goes north for 10 days of shows in WA and BC. Music begins at 9 pm and there is no cover.

Since moving to Portland from Ecuador in 2016, Shay has been performing with a cast of some of the city’s veteran bluegrass pickers. In contrast to his own self-named trio, The Texas Express leans on a traditional bluegrass repertoire and an upbeat, banjo-ified versions of Shay’s originals, re-connecting country folk and bluegrass music through a uniquely Texas lens.

With Oberlin on mandolin, Spud Siegel on fiddle and mandolin, Peter Schwimmer on banjo, and Chris Kee on bass, the night features serious picking and a little bit of Texas in the house.

With a career spent collaborating with musicians in a dozen countries, Shay’s vision exists comfortably outside any “Americana” box while still evoking his earliest influences and the ghosts of William Blake, Hank Williams and Sappho – all while you dance too. His baritone voice and guitar plus mandolin, upright bass and the trio’s three-part vocal harmonies combine for a powerfully elegant sound.

An audio preview awaits you at michaelshay.com.