Michael Cleveland is one of the defining fiddlers of his generation, known for his incredibly quick licks, deep groove, and shiver-inducing double stops. His virtuosity has been recognized by artists from many different genres and their thoughtful collaborations have proven that Cleveland is much more than just a flashy fiddler.
His talents were recognized at a young age by many of bluegrass music’s biggest stars and as a teenager he appeared as their guest in such settings as the Grand Ole Opry and A Prairie Home Companion. As one of the most-awarded musicians in IBMA history, Cleveland invited many of his heroes to collaborate on his 2019 album, Tall Fiddler. The project will compete for Best Bluegrass Album at the Grammy Awards on January 26.
Unlike many solo albums, Tall Fiddler features Cleveland’s band Flamekeeper throughout. Half of the record features selections from their popular touring show while the other half features Cleveland and band playing with masters such as Tim O’Brien, Béla Fleck, and Tommy Emmanuel. The origin of many of these collaborations were explored in Flamekeeper: The Michael Cleveland Story, a documentary detailing his journey, from being born blind to forming Flamekeeper.
Cleveland spoke to BGS by phone from his home in Indiana. Read The Entire Interview Here