Flamekeeper on Blue Plate this Friday

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper will showcase music from their latest Rounder CD, Fired Up, on tomorrow’s (4/29) edition of Blue Plate Special on WDVX. The show features live performances each day at noon (EDT), broadcasting from Knoxville, TN at 102.9 FM and via online streaming.

Fired Up, released March 29, is the band’s first project since Tom Adams has assumed the guitar/lead vocal chair. Longtime bluegrass fans know Tom for his long career as an impeccable banjo player in the traditional idiom. He lent his considerable 3 finger skills to The Lynn Morris Band, The Johnson Mountain Boys, Rhonda Vincent and Blue Highway before a frustrating neurological issue left him incapable of picking the five up to his own high standards.

But Tom is also adept as a flatpicker, and unbeknownst to many fans of his banjo playing, is an able singer and songwriter to boot. If you’ve caught this powerful band live in the past two years, this isn’t news, but Tom has “rebranded” the band with his distinctive singing, and clever songs. Any band with both Tom Adams and Marshall Wilborn on staff will never suffer a lack of original material.

Of course, Michael Cleveland is the primary focus of the group, and his fiery fiddle has never sounded better. He is featured on a pair of fiddle tunes, Goin’ Up Dry Branch and Maine Line, and has a prominent part of the remainder of the album’s 15 tracks.

Fired Up also marks the last recorded appearance of recently departed banjo picker Jessie Baker. Jessie’s still with us, of course, but now working with Doyle Lawson. His spot is now filled by the estimable Charlie Cushman. Jesse Brock, the lone remaining original Flamekeeper, is on mandolin where he shines on every song.

Here’s a look at the current band live on stage, with Michael tearing up Cacklin’ Hen.


Check them out on WDVX at noon tomorrow.

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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.