Greg Schatz’s new album, Amoebotics, sounds at times like a dystopian, futuristic concept album, but actually it tells stories of navigating insecurities and anxieties of our current world, including love, job-stealing robots and brain-eating amoebas.
The opening track, “Not Even Close,” introduces someone longing for love while grappling with low self-esteem. Musings that the robot he is building will steal his job take hold in “I’m Building a Robot” and increase into obsession with “Machines are Making Machines.” Mechanism angst gives way to a primal realization about humanity in “I’m an Animal.” Meanwhile, even as technology enters nearly every facet of life, the water supply is not safe. A cautionary tale about a brain-eating amoeba – “The Amoeba” – is followed by “All I do is Ooze,” told from the amoeba’s perspective. Ultimately a sense of calm is achieved in “The Water.”
Amoebotics is New Orleans-based songwriter and musician Greg Schatz’s 7th full album of original music, and his 1st release on vinyl. Schatz is known for well-crafted tunes with clever lyrics and melodic hooks that get stuck in your head. The CD and web based releases of Amoebotics contain shorter versions of 4 songs for radio airplay and tight schedules.
On Amoebotics, Schatz is joined by a rotating cast of characters known as The Friggin Geniuses, including some who have been with his group since 1999: Paul Santopadre (The Song Dogs, Pigeon Town) and Doug Garrison (The Iguanas, Alex Chilton, Panorama Jazz Band) on drums, Alex McMurray (Royal Fingerbowl, The Tin Men) and Dave James (Gal Holiday, Dirty Mouth) on guitars and vocals, and Dave Stover (The Festers, Bicycle Jones, Jonno) on bass.
A host of New Orleans luminaries also appear on the album, including a killer saxophone section with Jason Mingledorff (St. Paul’s Broken Bones, the Special Men, Papa Grows Funk), Mike Jenner (Eric Lindell, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes) and Joe Cabral (the Iguanas, 007). Amoebotics also features Dr. Sick (Squirrel Nut Zippers, Asylum Street Spankers) on violin and singing saw, master percussionist Anthony Cuccia (aka the Night Janitor), and Paul Kemnitz (Market Band) and Tiffany Pollack (The Dapper Dandies) on vocals.
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 accomplished 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 2016 Schatz composed and performed the theme music for producer Eve Abrams radio and podcast documentary series, Unprisoned, which won a Gabriel Award, and was a Peabody Award finalist.
“Run out and get this record. The songs will stick with you and repeated listens will reward you as you digest the meaning and laugh at the intrinsic humor while marveling at Schatz’s rhyming skills.”
-Jay Mazza, The Vinyl District, June 6, 2019
“Greg “Schatzy” Schatz has made a name for himself as one of New Orleans’s key singer-songwriters”
-Robert Fontenot, OffBeat Magazine, May 29, 2019
“Schatz is one of the city’s great songwriters. He has a knack for taking life’s everyday moments, often some of the quirkier ones, and using fresh lyrics and catchy melodies to shed new light on them.”– Laura DeFazio, OffBeat Magazine
“What a songwriter – the first thing to make itself apparent when listening to this release…Greg Schatz knows how to write songs, and the great thing about this album is that it also underlines how very much he loves to do so.” – Rebecca Cullen, Stereo Stickman, December 2017
“Cleverly humorous, accessible lyrics unite with a host of instrumental breaks and showmanship in order to create an entertaining 12-track collection in Greg Schatz’s third solo album, Small Peace Of Mind. With the vocal candor of Dylan, and the rustic musicianship of The Kinks, these songs are—at the very least—entertaining; and at the very best, something about which one could become fanatic.” – The Arc of Music, December 2017
“Schatz combines New Orleans blues roots, Nashville Honky Tonk, and his Bob Dylan-esque song writing to create tracks representative of his life.” – Emily Blankenhorn, Indie Band Guru, December 2017
“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