A KungFu Girl Finds Music – Dallas Spotlight on Guitarist, Michael Tillman

The light is dim and atmospheric, serving to highlight the diverging conversation held at each table and social cluster. Wood wine barrels line the stage with local art displayed atop each barrel. The Wine Therapist celebrates art, music, fine wine, and conversation. The performer tonight is a 32-year old guitarist, Michael Tillman. His style is a fascinating mix of classical and Brazilian finger-style. His music is classical in body, incorporating Brazilian finger-style in rhythm and improvisation. Even though he is still a music student at TX WU, he has produced a 30- track CD and several stand-alone compositions available for public consumption.

Tillman takes position on a backed bar chair and warms his fingers in deliberate motions, a tango between his hands and the nylon-stringed guitar. The music fills and warms the room in spite of the chilly and damp weather just outside the doors tonight. His musical selections are Spanish in origin and eloquently executed. It is a fast paced and melodic- the music gathers, slides, and dances around the Wine Therapist.

I feel at ease now. Whatever stresses that had clung to me have melted away with the soft notes. I look up from my wine and notice that the musician is perfectly framed beneath a painting called “Four Women”. It’s as if the music has transfixed them in a moment of elegance.

I do like to surround myself with people who know how to harness their own creative energies. Michael’s love of music began at age twelve when there was nothing cooler than being a guitarist, but it was the classical guitar that chose him. I’m always amazed at self-taught creative people. You can tell that it’s not just a passing fancy with this type of self-propelled motivation into an art or craft. Michael learned how to play classical guitar music by ear. “Scarlatti’s Sonata in E minor” was his first competition piece.

His selections tonight range from jazz to Brazilian, from classical to improvised. Michael begins another piece with vocals. (Yes, he sings as well!) He taught himself how to sing in Spanish, Portuguese, and French. His voice is sculpted and well matched for this type of music. It doesn’t hurt that these languages are so lovely when sung.

The crowd responds to each composition they enjoy with applause and whistles. I kill the bottle of wine I have tonight. It’s called “Kung fu Girl”, a 2008 Reisling from Washington State with notes of pear. Apt, no? Over the years, I have had the opportunity to watch and hear Michael grow his musical talent and it is a treat every time to hear him play.

Michael Tillman can be seen performing at The Wine Therapist in Lakewood every Thursday night from 7pm to close.

As a special treat, here Michael is performing at the Kessler Theater, currently in renovations. This is part of a larger series of musical taped at various stages of construction, called “Resurrecting the Kessler” which can be found on YouTube.

RESURRECTING THE KESSLER- MICHAEL TILLMAN (guitar only)

RSSURRECTING THE KESSLER- MICHAEL TILLMAN (w/ vocals)

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1 Comment »

  1. Erica J Said:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. There is something so relaxing about a nice glass of wine at the Wine Therapist and hearing Michael play. I think it’s time we went back.


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