Jeff was exposed to many styles of music growing up with a family that formed a wedding and dance group simply called ‘The Michel Family Band’. As a child, Jeff heard the waltzes and polkas, foxtrots and doo-wop that comprised the hits of the 50’s to 70’s and grew up amid the warm, encouraging family atmosphere of Sunday afternoon rehearsals. Jeff began playing drums around age 6, having a small kit in his bedroom and playing along with K-Tel records. His father, Dave, taught him to play guitar shortly thereafter and he joined the group on guitar around the age of 14. In 1998, the Family Band was renamed to Generation ‘M’, and they recorded two albums of covers and original songs prior to disbanding in 2000. Jeff joined local hard rock/classic rock cover group Shattered and has played clubs and numerous festivals alongside bands such April Wine, 54-40 and Jerry Doucette. The band remains active in 2020, playing shows as schedules allow.
Following his experience recording the Generation ‘M’ albums, Jeff built a small Pro Tools equipped studio space in his home and began recording demos which would evolve into his first full length solo release, The Seasons, a 12-track acoustic album released in 2006. Jeff also provided an outlet for local singers and musicians wishing to record demos for their own music portfolios, and was later commissioned to write an instrumental theme/credit track for a local Access Communications TV show. In 2014, Jeff released a pop/rock single, Love You A Little While, in conjunction with a limited print run of CD singles.
The next three years would see the design and construction of a larger, more functional studio and a bit of down time in which to take up the mandolin. Jeff was recruited by Jim Galloway (Hypno-Gogo/White Heat) to provide lead/rhythm guitar duties in support of Jim’s 2015 release, Good Times, and played a number of shows and festivals through 2016. A spinoff group, 3 Sharps and A Flat, offered Jeff an outlet to explore his Folk/Roots side, utilizing the mandolin to provide textures to traditional and contemporary songs alike. Once the build of his studio was complete in the spring of 2017, Jeff had the opportunity to produce and record a 14-track album for long-time Estevan resident and local music icon, Ross LeBlanc.
In the fall of 2017, Jeff formed the Folk/Roots trio Hook & Nail with friends Mike Davis and Lindsay Arnold. Their 9-track debut album, Ghosts of Taylorton, was recorded at Jeff’s home studio, and released on September 28, 2018. The album earned them a tie for the #4 Saskatchewan Album of the Year in 2018 and a 2020 Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for New/Emerging Artist of the Year. Three singles from the album (Adeline, Two Tons, Ride) have been featured on CBC as well as coast-to-coast on college/campus radio. Hook & Nail performed for a national televised audience as part of the 2020 Kinsmen TeleMiracle and provided an unreleased track for a 2019 SaskTel TV/digital ad campaign.
Since the release of The Seasons in 2006, Jeff has been compiling ideas for the music that would ultimately form his next full length release. The yet untitled album, scheduled for release in the Spring of 2021, is an eclectic mix of countrified-folk/rock songs that explores themes of aliens, family, loss, winter whimsy, dragons, storms and the wisdom gained as one grows older. His songwriting style has matured to reflect the influence that folk music has had and embraces its storytelling nature. The leadoff single, Just Another Winter offers a look into the lighter side of Canadian Winters and some of the things we do to get us through the season some folks love to hate. Just Another Winter also features longtime friend and bandmate Mike Davis of Hook & Nail/Last Birds on dobro. Cabin in the Woods reminisces about Jeff’s parents’ summer cottage and the memories shared there, 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. Back to the Moon, again featuring Davis on slide guitar, ponders if we’re truly alone in the universe - and perhaps by choice. The Only Thing laments the loss of a wife and mother in childbirth and Professor of Intuition cleverly ventures into the world of the sixth sense.
When Jeff isn’t doing music-related things, he relaxes with his three indoor cats, tends to his outdoor strays that reside in Hotel Catifornia, and enjoys growing hot peppers and various fruits from his backyard that combine to make a hot jam with a slow, sweet burn.