Singer-Songwriter Michelle Rivers resides in the remote northwest corner of Montana where she is inspired by towering mountains and pristine lakes & rivers that surround her little town. Her music most closely leans toward the Americana sound, featuring traditional bluegrass instruments and a live performance that is both captivating & raw. The sweetness to her voice and the unbridled energy of her four-piece band is sure to draw you in. Michelle's first full-length album, “Breathing on Embers,” released in the summer of 2016 & features all-star musicians Rob Ickes & Jimmy Mattingly. She’s been a performer at Montana’s Red Ants Pants Music Festival (2016), a two-time scholarship recipient for the Crown of the Continent Guitar Workshop & Festival (2016 & 2017), where she worked with Jim Messina & Liz Longley, and she won the Red Lodge Songwriter Festival Contest (2017).
"A brilliant record. I love the emotion, I love the freedom, I love the writing, I love the vocals, I love the production. This is what music should be. Colbie Caillat meets Nanci Griffith, but still original. "
- John Colgin, Songwriter
"The album is gentle, pure & wise."
- Kathy Beaumont, Kickstarter Backer
Michelle Rivers grew up in Leipers Fork, Tennessee, just close enough to Nashville to be influenced by its sound, yet far enough away to be shaped by the pristine beauty of the outdoors and the simplicity of small-town life.
He father, David, is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and had a home studio where he recorded demos for himself and many other songwriters in Nashville. Her mother, Camille, encouraged her daughters to be creative in all sorts of ways. Michelle and her older sister, Laura, have always been very close and have been singing together since they were little.
Michelle was that free-spirited kid who always had a song in her head, completely caught up in her own little world, and knew by the time she was four that she would be a songwriter. As a teenager, Michelle was shy and songwriting was an outlet for her—a way of expressing thoughts and emotions she wasn’t sure how to articulate. In the early years, her dear friend, Jill Paquette DeZwaan, was a mentor and inspiration for her music. Michelle was enthralled by the honesty of Jill’s songs, which helped steer the direction of her own songwriting style.
After her family moved to Austin, Texas, Michelle learned to play guitar and her passion for making music grew from there. After graduating from high school she returned to Nashville to study music business at Belmont University. Though she loved the music community there, Michelle quickly realized the competitive nature of that environment was not where she would thrive. Thinking she was saying goodbye to the business forever, Michelle transferred to Baylor University in Waco, Texas. It was there that she really grew as a songwriter. She began playing gigs on and around campus, even recording some of her songs in the studio.
After college, Michelle headed to the mountains and found herself all the way up in the northwest corner of Montana. It was there where she found inspiration for many of the songs included on her album “Breathing on Embers.” She paints pictures and tells stories that draw you into her world. One fan calls the album “gentle, pure, and wise.” Nashville Songwriter, John Colgin says of the album “A brilliant record. I love the freedom. I love the writing. I love the vocals. I love the production. This is what music should be. Colbie Caillat meets Nancy Griffith, but still original.” Her southern roots and bluegrass influence weave their way through each song, tying the album together. Yet her eclectic folk, alternative, and indie influences light a non-traditional spark that makes this album unique. The album is graced with an all-star line up, including legendary dobro player Rob Ickes, formally of Blue Highway and fiddle player Jimmy Mattingly who is currently touring with Garth Brooks. Her father, David Piland, lends his talents on banjo and several other instruments to the tracks as well.
Last year, Michelle snagged a coveted spot playing at Montana’s Red Ants Pants Music Festival in July 2016 and toured Northwest Montana & Texas promoting her album. She also landed a scholarship to attend the Crown of the Continent Guitar Workshop, where she learned from some of the nation’s top guitar playing artists including Jim Messina, Chris Eldridge & Liz Longley. She continues to tour the Pacific Northwest & is working on material for a new album.