Michael Shynes Studio Session

We’re proud to premiere the second installment in our Studio Sessions video series, featuring live recordings with Carpet Booth Studios! We’ve also partnered with our friends at Wondercloud Media to create this new series in which we invite local artists, as well as artists we bring to town, to record a live studio session with us.

Recently, we worked with Michael Shynes as part of our sold out show at Café Steam with our member-voted opener, VILD. A coffee shop concert was something a little bit different for us, but as it turned out, it ended up being the perfect setting for this talented singer-songwriter and storyteller.


Here’s how it came together.

This time, we took the studio session on the road. Actually, it was one of those things that just fell into place. Shortly after booking Shynes for the show and talking to him about shooting a studio session, we noticed a mutual friend (Chris with Wondercloud Media) post a video of himself enjoying some family time at his in-laws’ home. In the video, he quickly pans the room, and we noticed it was a large, beautiful dome. We immediately started thinking about the acoustics as far as a possible performance or video space. Almost instantly after we commented asking about using the room sometime, Shynes also commented asking the same thing. We had our location! Thankfully, Chris’s in-laws graciously allowed us to invade their domed home to shoot this studio session. Thank you!


To the recording!

It was late February, the morning of the Cafe Steam show. We headed up a winding driveway to the unique home that sat perched on a snowy hill, overlooking beautiful valleys. After brief hellos with the crew from Carpet Booth and Wondercloud, we started hauling in all the gear and getting set up. Naturally, Zach and Nik from Carpet Booth started playing with the room’s acoustics. They set up mics throughout the room, including in the loft overlooking the large common area. We couldn’t wait to capture the sound and hear for ourselves how it turned out.

Michael Shynes in Rochester MN - Photo By Will Forsman
Michael Shynes – Photo By Will Forsman

Shortly after getting things set up, Shynes arrived. After a few handshakes and introductions, he effortlessly performed a beautiful song about his daughter whom he adopted when she was a year old. We all looked around the room with smiles and thought, “Hey, that was pretty painless.” It’s easy to take for granted how simple he made it seem, but it’s a testament to how long Michael has been performing and working on his craft. This was something that didn’t go unnoticed by Carpet Booth’s Zach Zurn, who said, “Working with a writer like Michael is a privilege – you hear the ups and downs of his human experience in every pass of his songs, and that same raw emotion which spurred him to write is passed on to the listener. Minnesota is lucky to have this guy call this place home!”

Shynes grew up in Little Falls, MN, and is now based out of St. Cloud, MN. He recorded a song about the former, which you can listen to here.

His time in St. Cloud is where he crossed paths with Chris from Wondercloud Media. “I know Mike from being engaged in the St. Cloud music scene in the early 2000s, and he’s just good people. He works very hard and puts a lot of thought and effort into his career, which is why he is performing at the level he is. Being able to finally work together on something like this was inspiring, and I’m excited to see him come back to town in the future,” Chis said.

After taking in Michael Shynes‘ performance at Café Steam later that night, there is little doubt that he won over several new listeners, and we can expect to see him perform in town again. We talked with Michael after his performance and asked what his impressions were of the music scene. “Rochester has a special gift in the form of a close-knit group of folks who are passionate about building the scene,” he said. “That is what it takes in this digital day and age where everything is competing for attention. I was truly blessed to be a part of this series. To play in the city for the first time, and have the show sell out, that is a tribute to the work they are doing.”


The Café Steam Performance

For this show, we asked the community to vote on which local artist they would like to see as the opening act for Shynes. After several weeks of voting, it was decided that VILD would get the night started. VILD is a Rochester musician/singer-songwriter herself, and was a great fit for the show. These days, her career is blossoming before our eyes. She played The Pourhouse in Minneapolis shortly before our event, and has since been out to LA and Ojai to perform as well. We’re proud to have had the opportunity to work with two really great artists. Check out the recap of our Café Steam Show below!