Biography

Check out all the groups Michael G. Ronstadt plays with below...

Michael G. Ronstadt: Cello/Guitar/Voice
Ronstadt Generations: Tucson Roots & Americana
Aaron Nathans & Michael G. Ronstadt: A Slightly Quirky Folk Duo
Trotta, Ronstadt, & Dalton: Indie Folk-Rock
Serenity Fisher & The Cardboard Hearts: Tim-Burtonesque Indie-Dream Pop
Serenity Fisher & Michael G. Ronstadt: Tim Burtonesque Indie-Folk Duo

MICHAEL G. RONSTADT: CELLO/GUITAR/VOICE

"An exceptional musician-composer, Ronstadt creates a masterful canvas with genre-blending explorations on cello and guitar in complement to thought-provoking lyrics"(Stephanie P. Ledgin, Author, Discovering Folk Music 2011).

An adept multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and composer, Michael G. Ronstadt has been captivating audiences throughout North America for nearly two decades. A master at his craft, Ronstadt traverses a mélange of musical styles that range from anywhere between folk, jazz, classical, Americana and the wildly ethereal. He lends his talents to a broad range of projects, including solo work and a variety of small ensembles, as well as larger bands.

Primarily known for his prowess as a cellist, Michael G. has contributed his cello to hundreds of recordings from accomplished artists around the world. These include such names as Craig Bickhardt, Ezra Vancil, Amber Norgaard, and Zoe Mulford. Throughout his tenure as an acclaimed musical artist in his own right, Ronstadt has also premiered several classical compositions on behalf of composers like Norway’s Bjørn Bolstad Skjelbred, as well as United States composers Conrad Kehn, Kenneth Stewart and Michael Ippolito.

He has recorded over two dozen albums under his own name or in groups that he is a part of. These include collaborations with his brother, Petie Ronstadt, in the Ronstadt Brothers band. Also of note is Ohio’s Serenity Fisher & the Cardboard Hearts, as well as his work as one half of the Aaron Nathans & Michael G. Ronstadt avant-folk duo.

As a quintessential member of Ronstadt Brothers alongside multi-instrumentalist Petie Ronstadt and drummer Aaron Emery, Michael G. dares to twist and bend the band’s Tucson Americana sound into genre-defying new worlds. Originally founded as Ronstadt Generations by his late father Michael J., they have honed in on a familial sound with this group that has propelled them from regional acclaim in Arizona to concerts regularly held throughout the continent. Michael G.’s offbeat, contemporary vision brings the western band into places you may not expect while keeping these core family values at its center.

In his work with Serenity Fisher & the Cardboard Hearts, Michael G. is able to take his unusual songwriting chops to new heights. They craft high-spirited, unconventional music that pervades the senses with euphoric dynamics. Known for his improvisational skills, he offers his cello and voice to the quintet and helps to complete their Tim Burtonesque dream pop sound-sphere.

Michael G. steeps his work with Aaron Nathans in a particular blend of authenticity. Yes, the music is as brilliantly creative and out-of-the-box as one might expect, but the duo makes a concerted effort to grow their songs out of an emotional core. In their sophomore album, Hang On for the Ride, the duo has introduced an orchestral complexity to their songs. It ought to be applauded just as much as Ronstadt & Nathans’ innate knack to develop themes around their work so centered on honesty, nostalgia, empathy and wit.

With Trotta, Dalton & Ronstadt, Michael G. joins accomplished singer-songwriters David Trotta and James Dalton to craft an earthen blend of acoustic rock, blues and folk. They have released three live albums since 2011, each of which have been recorded in a different venue. From their debut LP 3.30.11 on through Clown Cars and Canyons, recorded in NYC and Tucson, and the Philadelphia-based Salted Butter, the trio is sure to captivate you with their harmonious sound and high energy.

Michael G. received both his bachelor and master in Cello Performance, studying under the tutelage of Nancy Green, Gordon Epperson, Nelzimar Neves, and Yehuda Hanani. When he isn’t performing 250+ national and international shows a year, or contributing his highly sought-after cello to artists’ work as a studio musician, Michael G. teaches cello improvisation workshops internationally, from New York City to Glasgow.

Co-founder of Shaken Earth Media, alongside composer Kenneth Stewart (Dr. Ken). The label specializes in releasing instrumental music featuring outstanding current composers who cover an array of genres and styles. Shaken Earth, Vol. I features Michael G.’s own composition for the soundtrack of the documentary From War to Wisdom by Josh Hisle and Dan Collins. Shaken Earth, Vol. II showcases compositions crafted by the modern classical composer Dr. Jamie Keesecker.

Finally, Michael G. has opened for a potpourri of accomplished artists, including David Bromberg, Murial Anderson, Jimmy Webb, Ruthie Foster, Jorma Kaukonen and The Burns Sisters. He was also lucky enough to play cello in concert in support of his aunt Linda three times before she retired from singing.

In whatever iteration you might be able to see Michael G. Ronstadt live, you will not be disappointed by the spectacle of his consummate, unconventional and inspiring work.

Written by Jonathan Frahm of Pop Matters and For Folks Sake

RONSTADT BROTHERS:
TUCSON ROOTS & AMERICANA

PETIE RONSTADT - Guitar/Banjo/Tuba/Voice
MICHAEL G. RONSTADT - Cello/Voice
AARON EMERY - Drums/Percussion

“As you listen to the music passed down through the generations as well as new compositions, flavored with the rich history of our musical heritage, we hope that it will leave you with a desire from within, to explore your own history of family, songs and stories so that these treasures will continue to live on from generation to generation...” —Michael J. Ronstadt

Ronstadt Brothers (formerly Ronstadt Generations), led by multi-instrumentalists Michael and Petie Ronstadt along with Aaron Emery, present a new and fresh take on the traditional Southwestern and Mexican folk songs and offer innovative original material to millennials discovering the treasure of roots music. An aural illustration of inception to creation, this musical journey will take you from the past to the present steeped in the Americana vein, carrying forward a sound closely tied in its infancy to their aunt Linda and their father Michael. Join the Ronstadt Brothers on their journey through the Post-Modern American West

AARON NATHANS & MICHAEL G. RONSTADT:
A SLIGHTLY QUIRKY FOLK DUO

AARON NATHANS - Guitar/Voice
MICHAEL G. RONSTADT - Cello/Voice


Click Here to Listen
Click Here for Upcoming Performances

With their much-anticipated second album, “Hang On for the Ride,” the dynamic cello/guitar duo of Aaron Nathans & Michael G. Ronstadt push the boundaries of folk music with a creative, adventurous, and wildly enjoyable new work.

Their previous album, “Crooked Fiddle,” was a surprise favorite among folk music fans. The album fused nostalgia, emotion and musical virtuosity, alongside songs that got stuck in your head in the best way. Most importantly, the music was authentic -- sparse, brilliant and honest.

But for two artists who believe in challenging themselves, making the same album twice was out of the question. For a follow-up project, they would channel the immediacy of their live shows, which are always exciting events. They would push themselves musically, with complex orchestral arrangements that sound deceptively simple.

And in keeping with their commitment to honesty, the music would reflect the challenging times during which it was made. The recording of this project paused last summer when Michael’s father and namesake, the great Michael J. Ronstadt, died.

The resulting album is a portrait of contrasts, darkness and light: young love, ghostly photographs of old friends long gone, and the urge to run away to find peace and safety. Nathans & Ronstadt venture into lyrical corners other songwriters would never dare: peanut allergies, or climate change rendered as a hallucinogenic carousel ride. The Queen classic “Another One Bites the Dust” is recast as a jazzy murder ballad.

The title track talks of hanging on through tough times. And the leadoff song, by the elder Ronstadt, is a vision of making one’s way through the snowy North, as seen through sun-kissed Southwestern eyes.

Michael, who hails from his famous Arizona family, now lives in Cincinnati, where he is a sought-after cello teacher and mentor. He is also a member of the Ronstadt Brothers (formerly Ronstadt Generations) and Serenity Fisher & The Cardboard Hearts, and also works with Craig Bickhardt and David Trotta. Aaron lives with his family in greater Philly. He also performs solo and, along with Avi Wisnia, founded and leads the Philly Songwriters Circle, a song critique group. He has been a Kerrville New Folk finalist.

Nathans & Ronstadt were named Best of Philly Folk Fest by Philly CityPaper in 2015. Michael Tearson of SingOut! Magazine wrote of “Crooked Fiddle”: “This is an engaging, warm and intimate collaboration between songwriter Aaron Nathans and songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist Michael G. Ronstadt... Throughout the songs are stirring and they leave you thinking. A thoroughly satisfying and stimulating effort.”

And Matt Casarino of the Delaware comedy duo HotBreakfast! wrote: “Aaron and Michael are amazing musicians and songwriters. Their first album ‘Crooked Fiddle’ is a masterpiece of modern folk - beautiful, introspective, funny, earthy, and wonderful... I want another album from these guys, and soon.”

“We think Aaron’s journalistic storytelling skills paired with Michael’s unique instrumental (and songwriting) chops will continue to spin gold for as long as they choose to work together — a lengthy time, we hope!”(Richard Cuccaro, 2015).

“Nathans and Ronstadt are cashmere. Music you would want to get closer to and not be overwhelmed by. The well-thought-out approaches here are smooth with poignant tales filled with sincerity. Like many Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Tom Waits songs, these tunes can linger in your ears and follow you into bed where you will be looking up at the ceiling with your eyes closed in the dark and the melodies still partying into your sleep.” – John Apice, No Depression review

“This is an engaging, warm and intimate collaboration between songwriter Aaron Nathans and songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Michael G. Ronstadt... Throughout the songs are stirring and they leave you thinking. A thoroughly satisfying and stimulating effort.” - Michael Tearson, Sing Out! Magazine review

Crooked Fiddle debuted in September 2014 to #12 on the Folk DJ charts, with the first single, “Old Joe’s Chair,” debuting at #10. It continues to garner radio airplay on multiple formats worldwide. "This new CD from Aaron Nathans and Michael G. Ronstadt, 'Crooked Fiddle,' deserves your attention. Michael and Aaron have teamed up to create a powerful work of art that I guarantee will move you." - Ron Olesko, WFDU's "Traditions."

"Crooked Fiddle" was among the favorite CD's of 2014 by DJ's Wanda Fischer (WAMC), Joe Psoneck (Radio Nowhere), John Rumsey (KVMR) and WWSP's Acoustic Revival. Aaron Nathans & Michael G. Ronstadt continue to promote “Crooked Fiddle” with live performances. Please check either artist’s Web site for dates near you.

“Like hydrogen atoms when they fuse, they release tremendous energy. Musically, they come from different worlds. Aaron is a clever songwriter whose greatest strength is his wit and use of language. Michael is a conservatory trained cello virtuoso who reveals a winning playfulness when he performs… They take your mind places it has not been before.” – Gordon Nash, Wise Madness Blog


Click Here to Listen
Click Here for Upcoming Performances

TROTTA, RONSTADT & DALTON: INDIE FOLK-ROCK

DAVID TROTTA - Guitar/Voice
MICHAEL G. RONSTADT - Cello/Voice
JAMES DALTON - Mandolin/Harmonica/Voice

Trotta & Ronstadt bring a fresh blend of rock, blues and folk to the acoustic scene, playing festivals and waking up tired coffee houses. They have released three live albums since 2011, “3.30.11” a live recording and debut release for the group; “Clown Cars and Canyons”, the follow-up album recorded both in Tucson and NYC; “Salted Butter,” live in Philadelphia at Sine and Morningstar Studios. Both David Trotta (guitar) and Michael Ronstadt (cello) are experienced solo artists, but began touring together 6 years ago. They are joined by James Dalton on harmonica, mandolin and voice, rounding out the trio. The group has played the Escape to New York Music Festival alongside Patti Smith and Edward Sharpe, the Old Capital Arts Festival three times, and toured in Nevada as well as all over the NE seaboard.

SERENITY FISHER & THE CARDBOARD HEARTS: TIM-BURTONESQUE INDIE-DREAM POP

“The glory in singer Serenity Fisher's raw and emotive voice reminds me of an early Julie Miller. Serenity Fisher and the Cardboard Hearts are a band to listen out for. They have their own unique sound that is refreshing and very powerful.”—Angela Backstrom, Americana Music Director WFHB

SERENITY FISHER - Piano/Voice
BOBBY FISHER - Guitars/Mandolin/Uke/Glockenspiel/Voice
ROSE REIDMILLER GOWDA - Violin/Voice
MICHAEL G. RONSTADT - Cello/Voice
MATT HALVORSON - Percussion/Drums

“Serenity has a unique knack for taking listeners on a surrealistic journey that stretches your mind and your heart. Her charm is sincere and encourages ‘Follow me - it's going to be fun and you'll grow as a person’ All of that and she's an adept, mature musician, songwriter and singer. There's no one like Serenity and her band matches every move - amplifying the experience and adding gas to her dream machine”—Dawn & Hawks, Texas Songwriting Duo, 2015

Serenity Fisher and the Cardboard Hearts blend playful pop-rock with a Tim Burton-esque quirkiness. A wordsmith, Serenity Fisher entices stories into becoming songs using truth-telling, highly-visual lyrics, and dreamy melodies. Fisher is a powerhouse singer whose nuanced vocals vary from bluesy belt to sultry whisper, from technical prowess to stripped down raw emotion. Her piano style is theatrical and passionate. Her music has been compared to Regina Spektor, Tori Amos and Fiona Apple.

Cellist Michael G. Ronstadt, nephew of Queen of Rock Linda Ronstadt, holds a masters degree in cello performance from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM). Ronstadt brings a rich musical heritage and absolute knack for improvising up a storm.

Violinist Rose Reidmiller Gowda, a childhood friend of Fisher (her mother was Fisher’s piano teacher), also has a master’s degree from CCM. She has a flair for creative improvisation and for exploring dark and light tones.

Ronstadt and Reidmiller Gowda create a mesmerizing string section through rich tone and pure energy, displaying genre-blending explorations through a command of classical and exotic string sounds.

Bobby Fisher on guitars, mandolin and ukulele, provides tasteful ambient swirls as well as old school face melting solos. A world-renowned guitar virtuoso, Fisher got his start in Coyote, a popular country-rock band that regularly sold out legendary Cincinnati music establishment Bogart’s in the 70’s and 80’s. Most recently, his illustrious career has seen performances at Carnegie Hall and Lucas Oil Stadium for hundreds of thousands of fans. He continues to pass on his musical wizardry to daughter Serenity Fisher.

Rounding out the sound with drums and percussion is ethnomusicologist Matt Halvorson. His eclectic setup includes a vast array of instruments from Brazil, Pakistan, Peru, Morocco and Spain as well as household gadgets such as brooms and keys. A diamond in the rough, Halvorson tastefully drives the music with thoughtful dynamics and creative rhythms.

Serenity Fisher and the Cardboard Hearts make music that delights the ear, weaving timeless sounds with irreverent, collective, unabashed all round good-time-having.

SERENITY FISHER & MICHAEL G. RONSTADT:
TIM-BURTONESQUE INDIE-FOLK DUO

SERENITY FISHER - Piano/Guitar/Voice
MICHAEL G. RONSTADT - Cello/Guitar/Voice

Performing together for the last six years has created a dynamic, truly moving, and expressive duet. Between both songwriters, their material is diverse and reaches far. Serenity Fisher blends playful pop-rock with a Tim Burton-esque quirkiness. A wordsmith, Serenity Fisher entices stories into becoming songs using truth-telling, highly-visual lyrics, and dreamy melodies. Fisher is a powerhouse singer whose nuanced vocals vary from bluesy belt to sultry whisper, from technical prowess to stripped down raw emotion. Her piano style is theatrical and passionate. Her music has been compared to Regina Spektor, Tori Amos and Fiona Apple. Nephew of Linda Ronstadt, cellist Michael G. Ronstadt brings a rich musical heritage and absolute knack for improvising up a storm. He holds a masters degree in cello performance from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM). Michael G. displays genre-blending explorations on cello and guitar in complement to thought-provoking lyrics. To say his originals are unusual is an understatement. They set the bar at Olympian heights in their depth and breadth. In addition to his solo recordings and those with Ronstadt Generations, Michael G. is a much sought-after studio musician, who has appeared on more than 100 albums in the last fifteen years.

Site Designed by a Visual Victoria // © Michael G. Ronstadt 2017