Bellevue native Mich Shirey returns from Chicago Friday to play his guitar-driven indie pop music inspired by his childhood in Nebraska.
Friday’s concert at the Barley Street Tavern will be Shirey’s first performance in Nebraska since he left for Chicago 10 years ago.
Shirey said playing back in Nebraska means a lot, as growing up in the state gave him a solid foundation for his music career.
“The music scene in Nebraska is so welcoming.” Shirey said.
Music has always been a calling for Shirey. He has been playing guitar for 15 years and song writing since he was 12.
Shirey’s band typically consist of four members: Ben Dacoba on drums, Tory Lopez on bass and Maxx McGathey on keys.
For the tour there will be two new additions with Greg Woods on keys (substituting for McGathey) and Dominic Glimco on percussion.
He says his band will be pulling out all the stops when performing at home.
“It was tough playing out of state, but playing back home will fit like a glove,” Shirey said.
According to a press release, Shirey found his calling in the Bellevue East High School music department.
He singled out Marjorie Simons-Bester, director of choral activities, as a key influence in his musical upbringing.
“I joined her music theory class my junior year and mentioned how I wanted to be a part of the music program,” Shirey said.
He said there were not a lot of roles for guitar players in the music program.
“She (Simons-Bester) amazingly helped me join the band section of the B East Swing Choir and gave me my first jazz guitar gig,” Shirey said of Simons-Bester.
Simons-Bester said Shirey was a wonderful student, and teaching students like him was a privilege.
After graduation Shirey studied at Columbia College in Chicago. While there, he became a guitarist for hire and most recently completed a tour with Chicago artist Greg Woods through Canada and the Northeast.
That tour helped bond Shirey with his band outside of music and how to pack light for future road trips.
“It gave me bigger ears and I was able to listen to my music better than before,” Shirey said.
Shirey said at its core, his music is guitar driven and all the chords he uses are jazz harmony.
In terms of songwriting, he says his last album, “For a Darker Hour,” was a nostalgic piece and a review of his childhood in Nebraska.
His stop home won’t be all about business. Shirey said he is excited to bring his band to childhood favorite eateries Runza and Stellas.
This tour is just the beginning for the band in 2019, as they have a year of touring ahead of them, including a return to Canada to support his next EP being released later this summer.
Shirey performs on Friday at The Barley Street Tavern, 2753 N 62nd St, in Omaha with Greg Woods, The Sounds of Many, and Maya Duis. The 21-and-over concert starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $5 at the door.