Byron Fichter Fotography
Jeff D. Michel (MICKel) is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer living and working in Estevan, SK. His latest album Back to the Moon, released Sept. 24, 2021, was voted to a 10th place tie in the SaskMusic Best Saskatchewan Albums of 2021 and has been nominated for the 2022 Sask. Music Award for Roots/Folk Album of the Year. Back to the Moon is Jeff’s second full-length release and his first collection of new music since the CFMA-nominated 2018 Hook & Nail album Ghosts of Taylorton.
Back to the Moon is an eclectic mix of country-tinged folk/roots songs, and explores themes of aliens, loss, winter, dragons, prairie storms and the wisdom gained as one ages. The album contains contributions from friends Mike Davis & Lindsay Arnold (Hook & Nail/Last Birds) as well as Nashville pedal steel legend Steve Hinson. Jeff’s current single, Cabin in the Woods takes inspiration from time spent with family at his parents’ summer cabin and reminisces about the fond memories that often accompany a summer hideaway.
Back to the Moon has been well-received at radio, with four of the album tracks featured regionally on CBC Radio One (SK) and several tracks featured at College Radio with adds/rotation in over 65 markets across the US and Canada. In February of 2022, Never Had a Chance to Miss You was selected as a semi-finalist in the folk/singer-songwriter category for the 2021 International Songwriting Competition (ISC).
The title song, Back to the Moon, which features Davis on slide guitar, ponders if we’re truly alone in the universe - perhaps by a choice not our own. Never Outrun the Storm is a cautionary tale of summer prairie storms, and features Hinson on pedal steel, while Two Kids Dressed as Dragons tells the fantastic story of The Dragons and the 7-Horned Monster, based loosely on events that took place at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Bottom of the Well relays a prison conversation in which a man was unjustly jailed for his wife’s untimely death. The Only Thing laments the loss of a wife and mother in childbirth, and the opening track Professor of Intuition cleverly ventures into the world of the sixth sense. Jeff’s songwriting style has matured to reflect the influence that folk music has had and embraces its storytelling nature yet retains the edge and drive of his blues/rock roots.
In addition to his solo efforts, Jeff is a member of the folk/roots trio Hook & Nail, whose debut album Ghosts of Taylorton earned them a 2020 Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for New/Emerging Artist of the Year, and tied for the #4 spot in the SaskMusic Best Saskatchewan Albums of 2018. When Jeff isn’t doing music-related things, he relaxes with his cats and enjoys tending to his hot peppers. In addition to making small batches of hot sauce, those peppers are carefully mixed with some home-grown fruit to make a hot jam with a slow, sweet burn.