Archived Press Clippings
This was an excellent performance by Michael Messer & Ed Genis. Two musicians at the top of their game
Bill Smith - Blues In Britain - February 07
On some tracks super guitar player Messer is the equal of Ry Cooder
Marc Nolis - Mazz Musikas - January 07
This track….just excellent….this is called Lucky Charms
Mark Lamarr - BBC Radio 2 - July 06
Michael Messer's approach to his music isn't just idiosyncratic, it's a whole personal blues genre.
Nigel Rose - BLUES MATTERS! - June 06
If Beck & Nick Cave ever had a love-child, it would be Michael Messer. His use of modern music composition blends so perfectly with the Rhythm & Blues beats that it's a surprise nobody has melded the two to this extreme before. This does for Rhythm & Blues what Jamie Cullum has done for jazz.
GK - The Works - Jan 06
Knife Song comes across like a demented out-take from Exile On Main Street and things get seriously swampy on Take Me Back, while Steve Cropper, an homage to the great soul guitarist, actually comes across sounding not unlike Dire Straits. Messer dazzles on the slide throughout
HMV Choice - Mar 06
This fine piece of work manages to be both respectful & groundbreaking!
C.S. - The Sun - Feb 06
Havana Blues could have been from Moby at his best, but I prefer the opening title track and the repetitive Take Me Back. Lucky Charms is an indispensable CD for those wondering what future blues might sound like.
Antoine Légat - Bobtje Blues - Mar 06
Michael Messer and his ensemble were very much the cherry on the cake,a truly awesome live band. Its the genuine article. From the opening whistle the chuffing slide guitar delivers stand up feelgood blues with the ghosts of the blues forefathers ever present lurking in the background courtesy of some very clever sampling, a little English quirkiness with a tinge of Mississippi essence. What a wonderful flavour! Then there is the sound of the National steel, Wow vintage new blues. Don't miss this train, it could be the journey of your dreams!
Simon A Rowan - AMAZON.CO.UK customer - Feb 06
Lucky Charms, is a sharp elbow to the ribs of a genre where there are many legends much skill, but few surprises. It's fresh and colourful, yet Messer and his Second Mind Band sound as if they were recorded by some 'collector' on a Southern cotton picker's front porch and archived for posterity in a sepia photograph. Keep an open mind - you'll be intrigued and captivated. I can't imagine anyone with a blues soul and a beating heart not being blown away by Messer's Lucky Charms. Play the album loud and listen how the individual parts are put together to make this stunning Second Mind Band whole.
Sue Cavendish - NetRhythms - May 06
This album, Lucky Charms, is like a slightly rawer Gomez. A little folk, a little country but with a strong sense of confidence, a real swagger. Itís not something you usually hear. Far from it. It's very, very good.
New Noise - Dec 05
Michael Messer is a virtuoso slide guitarist who has one of the best bands performing some of the greatest blues tunes produced this century. His playing encompasses the entire history of the blues but is totally individual and contemporary. His use of turntables in the band adds a new element to the music. Michael's haunting vocals ooze authenticity and integrity. The American magazine 'Spirit' listed Michael as one of the greatest slide guitarists ever, alongside Duane Allman and Ry Cooder. This praise is wholly justified and the live experience of the Michael Messer Band will be one of the high spots of the festival. Do not miss this one!
Dave Tracey - (International Guitar Festival of Great Britain 05)
The 17th International Guitar Festival of Great Britain was opened by one of the best guitarists in the world. Michael's self-deprecating manner and pure musicianship shine naturally, a master of his instrument, his music almost creating a genre of his own. If you need to look for analogies there is much here; not just Duane Allman and Ry Cooder, try Moby, Little Axe, even Brian Jones. With possibly two of the best guitar albums of the 21st century to his credit, 'King Guitar' and 'Second Mind' - Michaels playing will become legendary. Michael Messer is the most important British blues guitarist of the modern era.
Mike C - (International Guitar Festival of Great Britain 05)
The concert it was a sublime blend of blues styles delivered within a package that was entirely their own. Clever stuff really as the brilliance of Michael's work was fully matched by the innovation and creative flare of the band. One thing worth stating is don't ignore the vocals because Michael's voice is great and within the context of the songs he created a dark and powerful edge to the proceedings.
T Sal - 05
Michael Messer is probably the best thing to happen to the blues since that sad day R.L. Burnside abandoned his guitar in his manager's office. Don't believe me? Go and see him live; acoustic or with his Second Mind band. His electric slide guitar weaves and duels with the sampling and scratching from young Louie Genis's turntable and collection of old blues vinyl. This is contemporary blues with its heart in US delta country and urban Chicago, but here's something going on that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck......here we have guitar blues at it's most skilful, melodic and creative with the deepest of blue roots. Messer and band rocked us and rolled us through an awesome set.
Sue Cavendish - NetRhythms - July 04
Moby eat your heart out. Second Mind is the best British blues album of the 21st century so far.
What's On London - Jan 03
Joe Cushley - Blues Matters! - Oct 02
"A welcome reissue of the ground-breaking British blues guitarist's 1995 album, MOONbeat, which was the precursor to his more high profile sets, King Guitar & Second Mind. MOONbeat is an extraordinary, innovative album that deserves to be heard".
Jeremy Isaac - Maverick magazine - June 04
"Accompanied by the brilliant Ed Genis, he paid awesome homage to the great American blues masters from pre-war Mississippi delta to post-war Chicago. With 'a steel rod, a piece of glass and some flat copper' he caressed and bent the strings of his vast array of guitars to generate some of the most memorable blues I've ever heard, never once letting his expertise eclipse the spirit of the songs. His vocals were superb".
Jackie Larmour - Aldershot News - Feb 04
"It was refreshing to see British bluesman Michael Messer bringing his frightening guitar skills to WOMAD on Saturday. Messer deserves credit for his unique take on American blues as an historical treasure trove and his cerebral and fun show can be locomotive to my party any day".
Geff Cowart - Reading Chronicle -July 04
"Who'd have thought that one of our fave blues albums of the year would have come from this side of the pond? Messer can handle a slide guitar like a true 1920s hero, but Second Mind is more than that: it's an old-meets-nu blues tour de force that gives full reign to our man's love of pop, rock and, frankly, spooky shit. Electric guitars rage over loop/dub backdrops, lovely, liquid acoustic figures recall slide kings of yore, vocals plumb the dark side like Tom Waits or Johnny Dowd, the band swerve from boogie to funk to ambient with nonchalant ease - and it all hangs together just right".
Guitar Magazine UK - Albums of the Year 02
"We loved Michael's last album with Catfish and here he comes again BUT this is different! There is super playing and very modern feel that is disarming in it's charm. Do we like it? Oh yes!!! This man's skill is unquestionable, this album is markedly different to his last release and shows off new territory that works well in this 21st Century".
Ponch - Blues Matters! Nov 02
"Michael's own seriously stunning musicianship dazzles on every cut. The mere appearance of scratching on a blues album might seem heresy to purists, but it's saying something for Michael's skill that it's selectively and intelligently used and not remotely out of place. In the end, then, if you want a blues-based album that's full of excellent playing, yet startlingly original and refreshingly different, then don't "messeround", check Second Mind out pronto!"
David Kidman - NetRhythms Nov 02
"An outing of remarkable verve, taste and originality from one of the UK's premier bottleneck-botherers - and better than 95 per cent of the USA's current nickel-plated blues output. Messer's playing is as fab' as ever, his vocals are reaching new, convincing heights and the lyrical twists add a dimension rare in modern rootsy Americana" (4 stars )
Rick Batey - GUITAR magazine UK Nov 02
"If last year's King Guitar opened the ears to the slide guitar talents of the UK's Michael Messer, Second Mind will confirm him as an artist of considerable merit. Refreshingly innovative yet authentic" (4.5 stars)
Dave Burrluck - Guitarist magazine UK Nov 02
"There's a feel of being on the street in Clarksdale, Messer's vocals drifting in & out....then you hit the killer smooch of Tail Feather Blues, a Green Onions riff attacked from behind by DJ scratching as Messer's slide duels with harmonica". Dark & Demonic. (4 stars)
Nick Dalton - Maverick magazine UK Nov 02
"Second Mind - lemme tell ya.....this album rocks! If you like your blues steeped in tradition, but twisted right up to date in a variety of creative & diverse guises, this is for you".
Gibson Keddie - Gear magazine UK Nov 02
"Michael Messer has now moved up a league into Sonny Landreth territory; Second Mind is an award-winner in the making".
Cilla Huggins - Juke Blues Nov 02
"In the hands of Jerry Douglas, Michael Messer, Sonny Landreth & Stacy Phillips, the resophonic guitar has journeyed light years from its country/blues roots."
Paul Alcantara - Guitar Buyer magazine - Dec 02
"I can well understand Michael's mighty reputation as the current king of slide playing in this country. I haven't heard anything as lyrical and as perfect in a long time"
Blues Alive - Sept 02
"Michael Messer is an unavoidable force in modern blues. His recent Catfish release, King Guitar, is a product of magical intensity and will. If Albert Collins' Ice Pickin' reacquainted the world with the blues in the 1970s, then King Guitar has met a new century with style, grace and a new colorful direction for the music".
Alan Jones - All About Jazz - Nov 01
"It's best of the best time as the UK's premier National & slide guitarist releases a collection of his greatest songs to date. Messer's charisma stems just as much from the swing and life - and sometimes downright weirdness he injects into his playing and songs as from his unsurpassable technical skills. The title track, King Guitar, lists many of the greats of the instrument that we all love, but he's far too modest to put himself amongst them - his only oversight".
The Guitar Magazine - March 01
"Every once in a while a disc falls into the mailbox that practically leaves a writer speechless. Michael Messer, Britain's resident slide guitar wizard, if there ever was one, travels a path that almost defies description. Make no mistake, blues is at the core of this 70-plus minute ride of absolutely stunning bottleneck styles. This excellent disc deserves a wide audience."
Craig Ruskey - Blues On Stage / Blues Access - June 01
"The audience sat in rapt silence hanging on to every chord whilst classics such as Rollin' & Tumblin and Walking Blues followed by one of the best versions I have heard of Diving Duck since Taj Mahal in the 60s. The audience were on their feet roaring their approval".
Tony Pugh - Blues In Britain - Feb 03
"King Guitar should be a strong contender for the blues album of the year & is a must buy for any music lover."
Nathan Face & Steam - Blues4u.com - May 01
"King Guitar is an assured blend of blues, country and original material in a diverse range of settings featuring the steel guitar. Styles range from the back-country acoustic slide of "Rollin 'n' Tumblin'" and his own haunting "Crow Blues", to the thick river-silt texture of "Rising Sun Blues" and the title track, where he sounds like a more focused Sonny Landreth. Though clearly captivated by the sounds of slide and bottleneck guitar blues, Messer is not in thrall to original recordings, and he looks at genre standards from new angles: "Right Hand Road", a rerouting of "Brownsville Blues", opens on primeval chanting and percussion, while "Diving Duck" winds its way to a Zairian guitar coda. There's enough skill and imagination on display here to fire half-a-dozen albums."
Tony Russell - Mojo - June 01
"Michael Messer's acoustic work is his most special. He approaches Roy Acuff's "Steel Guitar Blues" almost from the perspective of the first bottleneck guitar players like Casey Bill Weldon and Kokomo Arnold. The sense of melancholy this brings to this old showcase piece is both entirely traditional and utterly fresh. "Moonbeat" is a classic blues tale of love in vain that evokes Bukka White's "Sky Songs" in its metaphors; Messer's guitar sounds limpid, cloudy at first, slowly becoming more and more penetrating, like the chill of the night about which he's singing."
Joe Milazzo - All About Jazz - May 01
"His interpretation of Furry Lewis' 'Right Hand Road', is one of the most unusual that I have ever heard. He has a very personal, often delicate, slide touch & his vocals throughout are sincere & honest. I am certain King Guitar will have a wide appeal"
Bob Tilling - Blues & Rhythm - June 01
"The American debut album for England's Michael Messer is a masterful achievement combining his love of American pre-war Delta blues, Chicago stylings, and his love of folk and world beats. "Not one to miss out on, Messer's work is innovative while clinging to tradition. His outlook takes unique musical turns incorporating all of the musical forms that have touched his soul or turned his heart throughout his lifetime. Hear his love of pre-war players, his penchant for combining electric blues, his aching for country and world spirituality in music, and his timely production skills in one fell swoop with this biscuit. Messer has climbed to new musical heights with this release, King Guitar"
Mark A Cole - Big City Blues - June 01
"Mr. Messer's arrangement of Diving Duck is one of the best I've heard!"
Ken Bays - Blues Revue - May 01
"This is one of the finest guitar based blues & roots acts in the world!"
Time Out - London
"This US release of King Guitar promises to take care of Messer's anonymity problem. The slide work throughout King Guitar is as refined as it is raw. 'Robert Johnson's Wake' follows blues back to its tribal roots".
Brian Beatty - Blues Revue - Sept 01
"I just got the new Michael Messer release King Guitar. After listening to it once I became an instant fan. The CD has been added to my playlist and I did a feature on it this morning on my blues show".
Jim Vergeldt - WXOU 88.3 FM, Rochester, Michigan - May 01
"Michael Messer is King Guitar - from string bending electric, cool, urban blues, through red-blooded funk.....to the best National steel slide guitar this side of the big pond. The blues is a genre of music generally best experienced live. King Guitar is an exception - from a musician's musician. It's an absolute essential for lovers of blues and guitar gods! Superb!"
Sue Cavendish - Net Rhythms - July 01