84: Blind Flamekeeper with Michael Cleveland

Michael Cleveland was born blind but he knew he was born to be a fiddler at four years old. Described as “untouchable” by Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill, Michael was awarded the 2020 GRAMMY for Best Bluegrass Album -- Tall Fiddler, and is the IBMA’s most awarded Fiddle Player of the Year with 12 wins, has won Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year 6 times, and fronts their 6-Time Instrumental Group of the Year. In this episode:

  • Determined to be a fiddler player after hearing “Orange Blossom Special” on the fiddle at four years old
  • Learning to play at the Kentucky School of the Blind
  • Finding and refining passion for the fiddle every single day as a child
  • “When you go to the school of the blind, you’re nothing special because everyone else is visually impaired, too.”
  • The Grand Ole Opry, his favorite spot that he played in as a teenager
  • Forming the band, Michael Clevelend and Flamekeeper, with musicians he grew up playing with
  • Grammy award, 12 time Fiddle Player of the Year, 6 time Instrumental Group of the Year
  • How Michael is trying to transform the stigma of bluegrass music by blending it with other music varieties

You can learn more about Michael & Flamkeeper at flamekeeperband.com as well as MC Flamekeeper on Facebook and Instagram

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