There has been a great deal of speculation, and a fair amount of misinformation, concerning the status of Audie Blaylock & Redline. We reported back in April that Michael Cleveland had launched a group of his own called Flamekeeper, when he announced that he would be leaving Dale Ann Bradley, which we also covered in the Spring.
At that time, Michael indicated that Audie would be a part of this new group, leaving many to wonder about Audie’s own band, Redline. I had a chance to speak with Audie about all this yesterday, and he gave me the straight scoop on the two groups, and where his attention would be focused.
At this point, both groups are active, but they will be folded into one starting in January of 2007. Currently, Michael Cleveland is playing mandolin and some fiddle with Redline, along with Patrick McAvinue on fiddle, Barry Reed on bass and Evan Ward on banjo. Both Evan and Patrick will be attending college full time next year, at which time Redline will morph into Flamekeeper.
Audie describes this switch as more of a name change than a new band, which will officially be booked as Michael Cleveland and FlameKeeper featuring Audie Blaylock. One imagines that this will eventually be abbreviated to Flamekeeper, once their identification is solidified in the bluegrass public’s mind.
Flamekeeper will move Michael to fiddle, and bring in Pete Kelly on banjo and Jeff Guersney on mandolin, according to current plans. Barry Reed will stay on bass, and Audie, of course, on guitar and vocals. He hopes that they will be able to start recording a new project as Flamekeeper later this year, though they don’t anticipate a release before late 2007 at the earliest.
He is excited about the possibilities, and the people he has been, and will be appearing with on stage.
“We’ve been having fun for the last several months. It’s been a great time, and it really helps when you have everyone on the same page musically. These guys all enjoy this kind of music, and are committed to working together to create our group sound.”
Audie’s schedule can be viewed on his web site, with shows booked as Michael Cleveland and FlameKeeper featuring Audie Blaylock posted in red for clarity. His expectation is that shows booked after February 2007 as Audie Blaylock & Redline will most probably be performed with Flamekeeper.
He mentioned that Patrick and Evan will be with the band for the ETA Bluegrass Cruise in February 2007, but otherwise, all shows next year will be with the new configuration.