Sounds of the Mountains Series – Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper – in partnership with the Blue Ridge Music Center Saturday, January 13 @ 7:30pm / $35


Michael Cleveland is the most awarded International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Fiddle Player of the Year, with twelve wins to his name. He is a six-time winner of the IBMA Instrumental Performance of the Year and his band, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, has won Instrumental Group of the Year seven times. In 2019, Cleveland was the subject of the documentary, Flamekeeper: The Michael Cleveland Story and his album TALL FIDDLER was awarded the GRAMMY for Best Bluegrass Album. Michael Cleveland was inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame in 2018. He received the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship in 2022. His most recent album, LOVIN’ OF THE GAME, was released on Allison Brown’s Compass Records in 2023.


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From an early age, Michael Cleveland heard old-time and bluegrass music at local jams and festivals near his hometown of Henryville, Indiana. His grandparents hosted regular bluegrass gatherings at the American Legion, and at age four, he began playing the fiddle. He attended the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville, where he learned the Suzuki method of violin. While he practiced the violin at school, he played fiddle at home. Cleveland began playing professionally after he graduated from high school, first with Jeff White, later with Dale Ann Bradley and Rhonda Vincent. However, Cleveland had always dreamed of leading his own band and in 2006, he formed Flamekeeper, seven-time recipients of the IBMA’s “Instrumental Group of the Year” award, including Josh Richards, Nathan Livers, Jasiah Shrode, and Chris Douglas. In addition to touring with his band, Cleveland has performed with a legendary list of bluegrass greats: Bela Fleck, Tommy Emmanuel, Billy Strings, Vince Gill, and more. Widely considered the bluegrass fiddler of his generation, Cleveland has been recognized 12 times as the IBMA’s Fiddle Player of the Year and in 2018 was inducted into the National Fiddlers Hall of Fame. His recording Fiddlers Dream was nominated in 2018 for a GRAMMY for Best Bluegrass Album, and in 2019, he won a GRAMMY for his album Tall Fiddler. The same year, Cleveland’s amazing life of adversity and achievement was featured in the documentary film Flamekeeper: The Michael Cleveland Story. And in 2022, he was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship.

*Presented in Parntership with the Blue Ridge Music Center*

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