Toronto based guitar player Michael Eckert has run the gamut of musical influences over his short career. “I started in classical music on the viola in school, but what really pulled me into music as my path was the versatility of the guitar”.

Since he began playing Michael has developed a passion for many different styles of music, ranging from Folk and Blues to Jazz and World influences. His unique combination of Guitar, Bottleneck slide, Dobro and Pedal Steel have created a wide array of musical styles and vocabularies. Citing Rich Brown and Waleed Abdulhameed as major influences in his development Michael has studied with acclaimed Tabla player Ravi Naimpally in his world music ensemble at Humber College.

His music creates a unique blend of different ethnic percussive textures that are creating the backdrop for a more orchestral level of story-telling. Composition has been a major developing point for Michael in the recent past, citing it as a driving source in his development musically.

His own 10 piece world music group MELEE (Michael Eckert Large Earth Ensemble) being the primary creative outlet for these compositions with a debut record entitled “Of Stone, River and Song” to be independently released this summer. All of this has certainly had an impact, as he was recently awarded the 2009 Ron Collier Memorial Scholarship for Composition from the Ken Page Memorial Trust Fund.

Contemporary music also plays a large role in Michael’s music, having spearheaded the Daft Punk Tribute band ( A group dedicated to arranging the electronic music of Daft Punk for a live 10-piece band. Consistently developing in new directions he added the Pedal Steel to his arsenal of musical instruments a year and half ago. “To me, it seemed like the next logical step in my growth as a slide player and as a musician. I’m very much excited about the possibilities provided by such a unique and demanding instrument.”

Roots and Country music has been a constant source of exposure for Michael over the last 3 years performing on Dobro and more recently Pedal Steel with groups like The Long Haul, the Rucksack Willies and The Treasures, as well as freelance work with a variety of outfits.