Greg Schatz writes and plays music that gets stuck in your head. Steeped in tradition, yet completely original, his songs give words to life’s hard-to-describe moments.
Small Peace of Mind, his sixth overall full length album of original material, expands the song-driven mix of roots music he began exploring with his 2012 record, Where the River Meets the Railroad Tracks, and the 2015 follow up, Everything That You Wanted. Small Peace of Mind further solidifies Schatz’s musical vision, informed by the traditions of New Orleans piano masters and a myriad of songwriters, from Jelly Roll Morton to the Rolling Stones. His core backing band ‘the Friggin’ Geniuses’ – Doug Garrison and Paul Santopadre on drums, Alex McMurray and Dave James on guitars and Dave Stover on bass – is a New Orleans all-star team, seamlessly locking into a groove and brining the most out of every song. A host of additional New Orleans luminaries appear on Small Peace of Mind, including: Solid Harmony (Topsy Chapman, Yolanda Windsay and Jolynda Phillips), Susan Cowsill (the Cowsills), Jason Mingledorff (St. Paul’s Broken Bones, Papa Grows Funk), Dr. Sick (Squirrel Nut Zippers, Asylum Street Spankers), Helen Gillet, Tiffany Pollack, and Sarah Debacher.
Schatz began writing and performing original music as a teenager in upstate New York. He moved to New Orleans in 1995 to play accordion with the Big Mess Blues Band and subsequently took up the upright bass in the trio, Jeremy Lyons & the Deltabilly Boys. In 1999 he started his own band and released three albums under the name Schatzy, which often blurred the lines between genres and had a vibe of global musical hopscotch. His album, Where the River Meets the Railroad Tracks, marked a sea change in approach, songwriting, and instrumentation, as Schatz brought piano to the forefront as his primary instrument (as opposed to accordion on his first three records.) Small Peace of Mind may be Greg Schatz’s most focused release to date, with a dozen songs that touch on a myriad of moods, experiences and emotions, all unified by a distinctly one-of-a-kind musical standpoint.
In addition to performing original music on piano and accordion with his own band, Schatz has several weekly gigs playing classic New Orleans R&B and blues tunes on piano. He is an in-demand sideman, playing upright bass with groups like the BustOut Burlesque Jazz Band, and accordion with the Valparaiso Men’s Chorus, in addition to various other creative projects.
“It’s apparent that Schatz has been inoculated with the New Orleans version of boogie-woogie flu as his keyboard lines roll and chuckle with the easy dance step of classic J&M studio R&B.” –John Swenson, OffBeat, October 2012
“Schatzy has a gift for the unexpected rhyme.”—Tom McDermott, Gambit Weekly
“With Lively Music and humorous, whimsically philosophical lyrics, Greg Schatz makes the mundane seems magical.” –Kathryn Hobgood, Neon Bridge
“Throughout the dozen original compositions, Schatz shows off his sense of humor and a pop sense informed by his Big Easy potpourri.” – Keith Spera, Times Picayune
“Roots music fans can find plenty to love here.” –OffBeat