(Photo courtesy of SFF)
Sisters Folk Festival (SFF) is proud to present bluegrass luminaries Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper as the kickoff for the 2018 Summer Concert Series at Fir Street Park.
The three-show series is free to the public and will be presented on Thursday evenings, July 26, Aug 2 and August 16; and is sponsored in part by First Interstate Bank.
Thursday, July 26, Grammy-nominated bluegrass band Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper will perform. Michael is one of the premier bluegrass fiddlers of his generation and, with 10 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Fiddle Player of the Year awards under his belt, he is the most awarded and celebrated fiddler in the history of the genre. Cleveland plays with so much fire, drive and virtuosity that audiences are often left shaking their heads in amazement. Together with his band Flamekeeper (four-time IBMA Instrumental Band of the Year Award winners), Cleveland delivers some of the most powerful, exciting and authentic bluegrass you’ll ever hear.
The world tends to look at accomplishments in the form of accolades, and although only in his mid-30s Michael Cleveland has plenty to his credit. After picking up the fiddle at age 4, Michael’s musical momentum began to propel him forward toward early success. At age 9, Michael was invited to sit in with the legendary Bill Monroe at the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival. Soon after, he brought his virtuosic style to the Grand Ole Opry as a guest of Alison Krauss and was hand-picked for the IBMA Bluegrass Youth All-Stars before he was 14. His blistering prowess and technical fluency have since marked him as a sought-after musician, leading to performances with Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Tim O’Brien, J.D. Crowe and the New South, Andy Statman, and The Kruger Brothers in recent years. It wasn’t until 2006, when Michael formed his own band Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, that he found the right vehicle for his musical vision, and he hasn’t rested since, constantly looking for new ways to push himself and his music forward.
“He plays fearless, and it’s intoxicating to play with him because he makes you play fearless,” says Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill. “He takes no prisoners, but he plays with a restraint and a soul. He plays with abandon.” Together with Flamekeeper members Josh Richards (guitar), Nathan Livers (mandolin), Jasiah Shrode (banjo) and Tyler Griffith (bass), Cleveland makes his way around the country performing festivals, clubs, and performing-arts centers and delighting audiences. “It’s wicked to see how much music he pulls out of a bow,” continues Vince. “He’s untouchable.”
Tickets for Sisters Folk Festival, September 7-9, are still available but going fast. Advance sales end August 31, with any remaining tickets available for purchase at the Festival.
For the SFF 2018 Summer Concert Series and artist information, please visit sistersfolkfestival.org. SFF encourages patrons to bring blankets and low-back chairs, as seating is not provided. All shows start at 6:30 pm, are free and open to the public, and picnics are encouraged. Fir Street Park is located in downtown Sisters at 150 N. Fir St.