It's every person's dream to get paid for what they love, intertwining that work with their heart's passion and making a difference in the world. And that's exactly how Michael Veitch lives his life.
A boy who sang before he talked, when Michael first heard the Beatles as a young child, he knew then that music was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. And the same passion that propelled his love of music, and later on writing, is also what led Michael into environmental and social activism, where he now holds a degree in Community Action. Michael was a professional photographer who already had an eye to capture life in a single picture, his songwriting mixed with activism mirrored his same ability to capture snapshots with pen and ink. Michael writes songs about real issues and explores a deeper range of those of the heart.
Having worked for many years as Vermont's statewide recycling advocate, battling for clean air, water and fair government, Michael attacked huge multinational waste corporations to prevent them from burning trash and polluting the environment. He worked for progressive candidates and ran as an independent progressive for Vermont State Senate in the early 90's.
In 1994, after running for Vermont State Senate, Veitch decided to concentrate on music and writing full time. But when Shawn Colvin was handed a CD of Michael's music, Shawn enthusiastically encouraged him to perform his music out on the road and open some shows for her. Eventually Michael opened for Shawn on tour and at other gigs, meeting many of his musical heroes. While opening for Shawn at a well-known Washington, DC venue, George Stephanopolis, who was in attendance, invited Shawn and Michael on a special tour of the White House and to meet Bill Clinton in the Oval Office. Veitch realized the irony of the situation - that it was music that got him into the White House and not strictly politics, something that confirmed his belief that he could do more to raise awareness of serious issues and affect change by performing. His songs carried his message, echoing the tradition of troubadours like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Odetta and Billy Bragg. And it was also during an anti-war rally in Washington DC, that his combination of music and activism that allowed Michael to share the stage with Jesse Jackson, Patti Smith and Ben Cohen (Ben and Jerry's) which was filmed and later shown repeatedly on CSPAN.
With his feet firmly planted between his love songs of life and people, Michael's fourth CD is a mature collection of material written over the last two years - songs based on real life events, like Sanctuary, about a police shooting in a Vermont Church; the anti-war anthem Veteran's Day; and songs covering other topics including sexual abuse in the church and the desolate and heartbreaking poverty in a land of plenty. Veitch deals with relationships both hopeful and dysfunctional, as elegantly showcased in the arresting, For My Dear Life, about the universal longing we have all experienced at some points in our lives.
Michael has just released his new CD, Painted Heart. He has four previous CD's; Heartlander, Southern Girl , New York Journal, and his first CD, Down Deep, now out of print. Down Deep was named by Performing Songwriter magazine as one of the top 12 DIY CD's of the year in 1998. New York Journal features Shawn Colvin's voice on the duet "Anybody But You" and Susan Werner on piano. Southern Girl grew out of songs that were written for the Monday Night Songwriters Meeting held at Jack Hardy's in Greenwich Village.
Recently moved to Munich, Germany, Michael lived in Woodstock, NY, for 10 years and has written and recorded with many of its greatest musicians. He completed Painted Heart with Julie Last producing and some co-writing and was joined by Jerry Marotta, Artie Traum, Pete Levin, Bar Scott, Ed Sanders and many other super players and singers. "It's the album I've always wanted to make and I think it's a keeper." said Michael. He was also completing by himself a 1200 sq ft addition to his Woodstock house. "When I wasn't hammering nails, I was laying down tracks at Coldbook Studios in Bearsville with Julie Last, which is probably where the "holding up the rafters" line in the song Knock Me Down came from." said Veitch.
Touring hasn't been the top priority for MV these past few years but recording and writing has. He is just completing a new batch of tunes co-written with an old friend from High School Rock and Roll days-John Lynch. Tragically, John passed away suddenly just as the album is finishing up- there are no immediate plans to release the material but Veitch will be playing some of the new songs at his live shows.
The current "Veitch & friends" lineup consists of Jerry Marotta on drums, Pete Levin on keyboards, Julie Last vocals, Kirsti Gholsen vocals and Kyle Esposito on bass.
Michael writes a blog about his adventures living in Gremany, which can be found here.
Short bio for presenters
Heart driven songs combined with a beautiful tenor and fluid guitar playing, Michael Veitch is highly regarded by many of his singer-songwriting peers. His music visits the past without regret and the future with an optimist's eye while his lyrics and melody weave a narrative of world class performance.
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