Cleveland believes in "The Lovin' of the Game"
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Cleveland believes in "The Lovin' of the Game"

Friday, December 9, 2022 – Michael Cleveland, 12-time IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year, delivers "The Lovin' Of The Game" featuring Flamekeeper, the title track from his forthcoming album, "Lovin' of the Game," due March 3 via Compass Records.

Inspired by The Johnsons' up-tempo cover of the Judy Collins classic, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper put a hard-driving spin on the '70s folk ballad.

"The song is about prospectors and gamblers," said Cleveland, "but for me, the 'loving of the game' has always been loving being a part of the musical community and all that being a musician has brought to me."

"The Lovin' Of The Game" follows the October release of the album's lead single "Sunny Days (Are Comin' Once Again)."

The CD, produced by Jeff White, Sean Sullivan and Cleveland, is Cleveland's sixth studio album. Helping out on the 12 tracks are Billy Strings, Béla Fleck, Charlie Starr, Jeff White, The Travelin' McCourys, Dan Tyminski, Jerry Douglas and Vince Gill.

"People know me as a traditional bluegrass fiddle player, which is what I love to do," said Cleveland, "but this album is more than just the pure tradition. It's a little bit of a departure for me."

Picking up the fiddle at four, at nine, Michael was invited to sit in with Bill Monroe at the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival. Soon after, he played the Grand Ole Opry as a guest of Alison Krauss, and was hand-picked for the International Bluegrass Music Association's (IBMA) Bluegrass Youth Allstars before he was 14.

He formed his own band in 2016.

Songs on the CD are
"Thousand Dollar Holler"
"Luxury Liner" – featuring The Travelin' McCourys
"Five Points" – featuring Cody Looper and Ronnie McCoury
"For Your Love" – featuring Billy Strings and Jeff White "I Wish I Knew Now What I Knew Then" – featuring Vince Gill
"Sunny Days (Are Comin' Once Again)" – featuring Jeff White and Dan Tyminski
Bela Fleck, Cody Kilby and Barry Bales
"Temperance Reel" – featuring Luke Bulla and Tim O'Brien
"Empty Pocket Blues" – with Flamekeeper, featuring Bryan Sutton
"Now She's Gone" – with Flamekeeper, featuring Jerry Douglas
"One Horse Town" – with Flamekeeper, featuring Charlie Starr
"The Lovin' Of The Game" – featuring Flamekeeper

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CD reviews

CD review - Fiddler's Dream "Solo" albums often turn out to be the result of a standout musician (bandleader or member) recruiting a few "special guests" to augment his regular band mates to record material that, in the end, doesn't seem all that "solo." In the case of fiddler extraordinaire Michael Cleveland, however, his first "solo" release in several years features nary a member of his longtime band Flamekeeper, opting instead for a cast of the leading lights of many of the ...
CD review - On Down the Line Unlike previous Flamekeeper releases, there are few bluegrass household names associated with "On Down the Line." Only co-producer Jeff White has been with Michael Cleveland since the 2002 Rounder Records debut that gave Cleveland's band its name. "On Down the Line's" personnel reflects an evolving band that has solidified over three years. Glenn Gibson (banjo and reso) has been with Cleveland for three years, while both Tyler Griffith (bass) and Nathan Livers ...
CD review - Fired Up Some CDs labeled "bluegrass" are like powdered eggs and turkey bacon: they just don't hit the mark. If it's a Michael Cleveland CD then you know it will be the real deal. "Flamekeeper" is centered on Cleveland and his fabulous talent on the fiddle (and other instruments, too). Other Flamekeeper members are Tom Adams (Blue Highway, Johnson Mountain Boys) on guitar and lead vocals, Marshall Willborn (Lynn Morris Band) on bass, Jessie Brock on mandolin and Jessie Baker ...

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