Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper are a traditional, to say the least, bluegrass band from Indiana and Louisville. These group of guys call certain parts of Indiana home and Kentucky. They bring the bluegrass tradition to new levels with Michael Cleveland’s award winning fiddle. Along with his bandmates Glenn Gibson (banjo, resophonic guitar), Nathan Livers (vocals, mandolin), Tyler Griffith (vocals, upright bass), and Joshua Richards (vocals and guitar) make up a bluegrass band that is no holds barred. They bring high energy and a brand of bluegrass that feels refreshing.
These fellas have a new album out, On Down the Line, and with this one and a few others under their belt they are taking the bluegrass world by storm. Each of these musician’s have accomplished many different things, and with Michael Cleveland at the helm they are going places. On Down the Line is an album that stays true to the heart of bluegrass. The album is clean seemingly flawless banjo work, mandolin, and with that award winning fiddle they keep the driving soul of bluegrass alive and well. The opening track “Too Late for Goodbyes” is a one of those see ya later love songs with a melody that keeps with that sort of pace. The album plays to just that. The lyrics that are honest and true with melodies that wrap around the lyrics. Oh, and have I mentioned that the musicianship on this record is outstanding to say the least. I will not compare them to any of the other bluegrass musician’s that have come before because these fellas are simply the new wave of bluegrass, and while that would be really easy to do they are simply trying to leave their stamp on music and the bluegrass folk traditions that they grew up with.
Michael Cleveland won the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) for best fiddle player for the fifth time in 2007 and has won it every since then for a total of nine times. While awards and accolades are great, when it comes down to it the music is all you need to realize why these awards were won. Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper will be at The Whispering Beard Folk Festival this Friday August 22nd. They will be closing out Friday night so come on down and enjoy this band that simply plays bluegrass.
Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper can also be found at flamekeeperband.com their website for anyone that cannot make it to the festival. Their albums are also available on iTunes. Honest and from the heart is where they come from , and man is it refreshing. Take a listen and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.