Charlie Cushman leaves Flamekeeper

Charlie Cushman has left his position playing banjo with Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper to refocus attention on his banjo set up business, and stay a little closer to home. His last show with the band was this past Thursday.

In a conversation with Charlie this weekend, he expressed some regret about leaving the group, but said that the many demands on his time forced his hand.

“My set up business is going strong, and it’s been a logistical nightmare for me trying to stay out with Michael and do set ups both. I really hated to leave, but it was just a scheduling thing.

I had worked with Mike Snyder for years, and had gotten spoiled as far as travel is concerned. We would always go out for a few days, and then come right back to Nashville.

When I first told Michael I would go with him on the road, we discussed my concerns about being away, and he told me at the start that if the schedule got too intense, I could give it up.

I guess I had to put the pants on to see what they feel like.”

Charlie also wants to dedicate time to booking and performing with Johnny Warren and their Paul Warren tribute show. A second CD featuring top bluegrass pickers and singers has just been released honoring Paul, who spent many years working with Flatt & Scruggs and then Lester Flatt, and who played in a style his son Johnny is trying to continue.

Cushman stressed that he and Cleveland remain good friends

“He and I shook hands and gave each other a hug. Everything’s great between us, and with his management. We’ll be doing some other musical things together in future.”

Michael is auditioning banjo players now, and should have an announcement soon about Charlie’s replacement.

We’ll have more about the Paul Warren tribute album soon.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.