Always among the busiest musicians in this region, 2017 is the year in which Michael Robertson and Ron “Rosco” Selley take things to new heights. Along with Bay City native and current South Carolina resident Daniel Patrick, the two have recorded a new CD of songs under the name The Sky Blue Sky.
The album will sound familiar to fans of the acoustic side of harmonica player Selley and guitarist Robertson, which has been displayed in other projects such as Maybe August and The Robertson Brothers Band. Patrick, featured on mandolin on this release, actually did a stint in Maybe August as a drummer.
The Sky Blue Sky features new versions of tunes these three have played together or in other formats, such as Patrick favorite 23 Miles, Robertson’s Sale on Salvation or a cover of the Seldom Scene’s classic Wait a Minute.
The three first collaborated in the studio on Patrick’s solo release, End Of The Day, which was debuted at the State Theater in Bay City in December of 2016.
As Selley puts it: “I love the way we find our vocal harmonies so easily, maybe because we've been singing together off and on for a long time. Working with two other great writers is inspiring. Everyone knows what guitar chops MFR has, but Dan has worked his ass off to become a stellar mandolin player. The trio can play anywhere at any time in any setting. We don't need a PA, or backline, or monitors, and there is something very pure and satisfying in that.”
In terms of “how high” the band thinks they can take this project, the current plan is 8,750 feet. This is the elevation of Telluride Colorado, home of annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival. The festival, which is in its 44th year, brings the best in bluegrass and other acoustic music to the mountain town every June.
Selley explained, “Dan had the idea to enter the Telluride Bluegrass Festival competition, and we were surprised when he was able to get us in - this will be an amazing opportunity to play a great festival stage and do some networking, as will the Nor'Easter Fest right here in Michigan which we are playing the weekend before Telluride.”
It has been a season of honors for the group, as Robertson and Selley were once again honored at this year’s Review Awards, the pair in the best Folk Band / Duo category for Michael Robertson & The Broken Hearted Saviors and Robertson as Best Country Musician.
On these accolades, Robertson was typically demure. “I am really just glad to have the opportunity to play with so many great musicians. We all really seem to bring out the best in each other. The fact that people like it enough to take their time to vote for us for an award is certainly gratifying. We all appreciate the fact that the Awards celebrate the entire music scene, no matter who takes any individual honor.”
The Sky Blue Sky released their CD on April 27, at a standing room only event at the Empire Room in Bay City. The CD is ow available through the group, who can be contact through their Facebook page.
To sample their music, check out the track 23 miles on youtube.com.