Flamekeeper in the studio

We caught up with Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper earlier this week. They are at Hilltop Studios in Nashville working on their next project for Rounder Records, which they hope to see released sometime this fall, though no date has been set.

They have been recording since last Friday (4/2) with Steve Chandler engineering and Jeff White producing. The plan has been to track live as much as possible, and work towards a real band feel on this album.

The guys sent along some photos and some comments about how things are going so far. For his part, Michael has a very good feeling about this one…

“I think this is one of the best, if not the best, records I’ve ever been a part of and I’m just really excited about it.

I’m playing a new fiddle on this record. It’s a newer John Silakowski 5-string. The fiddle I was playing, until this week, actually, was made in ’97 and this fiddle is about 2 or 3 years old. I think it’s got a fuller sound. It’s got a clearer tone and I’m really enjoying playing it.”

Mandolinist Jesse Brock says that he is more comfortable heading in to work on this album.

“I feel a lot more at ease going into this project because we’ve had time to really search for good material, over a year’s worth of time, and rehearsal time set aside from being on the road where we can really work on arrangements, go in there with confidence and really knock it out.”

Newest member Tom Adams is especially pleased to see so many new songs from the band included.

“I guess this record will actually have more original tunes than the last one. We’ve got an instrumental from Jesse Brock, and Marshall’s got a song and Jessie Baker’s got a song.

I’m doing most of the lead singing but Marshall and Jessie (Baker) are also singing lead. It’s a real ‘band’ project with all of the songs. The concept of the album was just to come up with tunes that fit everybody in the band and I’d say it’s going to be a different record from the last band album. But it’s going to have a real variety of songs and fit everyone’s personality and strengths, and just showcase what everybody does.”

Engineer Steve Chandler says that he has great optimism about this album, coming in large part from the open communication between the band, the label and himself prior to the recording commencing last week.

“Going in to it, Rounder has really kept me in touch with the practicing and the selection of the tunes. They are very optimistic as well and everyone is really excited about this project.

Everyone’s playing well, pulling great tone out of their instruments and paying a lot of attention to detail and I like that.”

We’ll be sure to post any news we get about this new CD, including song titles and a projected release date, as soon as we learn more.

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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.