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Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper release band debut

Wednesday, June 4, 2008 – Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper will release their debut disc, "Leavin' Town, " on Rounder on July 29. While other Cleveland recordings have been predominantly instrumental, "Leavin' Town" is balanced out by vocal solos, duets, and trios.

The material comes from sources as varied as 78 rpm records made in the 1950s (The Lonesome Pine Fiddler's "I'm Feeling For You (But I Can't Reach You)") to compositions written by members of Flamekeeper within the last couple of years (Todd Rakestraw's "I'm Ridin' This Train" and "Kickin' Back," by Jesse Brock).

Cleveland is a five-time winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association's Fiddle Player of the Year award who rose to prominence in the bands of Dale Ann Bradley and Rhonda Vincent. "Leavin' Town," Cleveland's fourth album for Rounder and the first to feature the line-up of Jesse Brock, John Mark Batchelor, Todd Rakestraw and Marshall Wilborn follows "Let 'Er Go Boys!" (2006), "Live At The Ragged Edge" (2004) and "Flame Keeper" (2002) - each of which was awarded the International Bluegrass Music Association's "Instrumental Album of the Year".

Flamekeeper features Union Station founding member Rakestraw on guitar and lead vocals, former Lynn Morris Band mandolinist Brock on tenor vocals, Batchelor on banjo, and veteran bass player, singer and songwriter Wilborn.

Songs on the CD are:
1. Sold Down the River
2. In My Mind to Ramble
3. My Blue Eyed Darling
4. I'm Feeling For You (But I Can't Reach You)
5. Northern White Clouds
6. Troubles 'Round My Door
7. Leavin' Town
8. Sunday Morning Christian
9. Jerusalem Ridge
10. I'm Ridin' This Train
11. Come Spring
12. When You Were Mine
13. Kickin' Back
14. Farewell for a Little While

The band also will be on tour:

June
7 The Globe Theater Atlin, B.C., Canada
10 KIAC Odd Fellows Hall Dawson City, Yukon, Canada
12 Chilkat Center for the Arts Haines, AK
13-15 Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival Haines Junction, Yukon, Canada
18 Bill Monroe Beanblossom Bluegrass Festival Beanblossom, IN
20 Blistered Fingers Family Bluegrass Festival Sidney, ME
21 Laurel Highlands Bluegrass Festival Ligonier, PA
22 Tottenham Bluegrass Festival Tottenham, ON
27 Music in the Mountains Summersville, WV
28 Goin' Back to Harlan Harlan, KY
29 Utah Arts Festival Salt Lake City, UT

July
3 Red, White and Bluegrass Festival Morganton, NC
4-5 Cedar Valley Bluegrass Festival Derby, IN
10 High Mountain Hay Fever Westcliffe, CO
17 Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival Oak Hill, NY
18 The Dam Show Austin, PA
24 Musicians Against Childhood Cancer Columbus, OH
26 Friends of Bluegrass Concert Series Holly Springs, NC
27 Floydfest Floyd, VA

August
2-3 River Valley Bluegrass Jamboree River Valley, ON
8 Minnesota Bluegrass & Old Time Music Festival Richmond, MN
9 The Back Forty Bluegrass Festival Curryville, MO
23 Bluegrass 101 Bluegrass Festival Bardstown, KY
24 Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival Gettysburg, PA
30 Tri-State Bluegrass Festival Kendallville, IN

CD reviews for Michael Cleveland

Fiddler's Dream CD review - Fiddler's Dream
"Solo" albums often turn out to be the result of a standout musician (bandleader or member) recruiting a few "special guests" to augment his regular band mates to record material that, in the end, doesn't seem all that "solo." In the case of fiddler extraordinaire Michael Cleveland, however, his first "solo" release in several years features nary a member of his longtime band Flamekeeper, opting instead for a cast of the leading lights of many of the »»»
Let 'Er Go, Boys CD review - Let 'Er Go, Boys
What else would you expect from one of the best fiddlers in bluegrass but one of the best albums of the year? Michael Cleveland wasn't stingy with the music, cutting 17 tracks of some of the tightest instrumentals you'll hear with the incredible Jason Moore on bass, Audie Blaylock (guitar), Charlie Cushman (banjo) and Jesse Brock (mandolin). Reels, rags, a stomp and "The Old Brown County Barn" show off their skills. He didn't slight vocalists, either. »»»
Flame Keeper
Though he's actually been on the bluegrass scene for a few years, to many fans of the music, Michael Cleveland seems to have appeared out of nowhere in the last couple of years to capture the IBMA's Fiddler of the Year award in 2001. It helped, of course, that his regular gig for most of that time was with the Rage, the high-octane band of bluegrass superstar Rhonda Vincent, who was smart enough to give her young fiddler plenty of opportunities to shine. Cleveland has since left Vincent's band to »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Kristofferson gives insight, but no easy answers – When they say music gets better with age, they're not always just talking about songs alone; sometimes they're also referring to the listener. When Kris Kristofferson sings, "Well, I woke up Sunday morning/With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt," to smartly open "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," he... »»»
Concert Review: No sugarcoating, Welch dishes out an experience – Gillian Welch (accompanied, as always, by master guitarist David Rawlings), celebrated her "The Harrow & The Harvest" album with a powerful night of music. She apologized many times for the utter unhappiness expressed through this album's songs, admitting it's "not the most chipper album" at one point.... »»»
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