The world tends to look at accomplishments in the form of accolades, and although only in his mid-30’s, Michael Cleveland, a 2018 GRAMMY Nominee, has plenty to his credit. After picking up the fiddle at age 4, Michael’s musical momentum began to propel him forward towards early success. “When I started taking lessons at age 4,” he remembers, “I told the teacher right up front that I wanted to learn how to play bluegrass and I wanted to play ‘Orange Blossom Special.'" Reluctant as they were, his teachers quickly found reason to his rhyme, helping him progress to the point when, 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 International Bluegrass Music Association’s (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. He is also an active studio musician, and his credits include the 2005 GRAMMY-nominated “A Tribute to Jimmy Martin: The King of Bluegrass” and a 2003 GRAMMY winner, Jimmy Sturr’s “Let’s Polka ‘Round.” In 2006, he formed his own band, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, and he hasn’t rested since, constantly looking for new ways to push himself and his music forward.
Cleveland is IBMA’s most awarded Fiddle Player of the Year with 10 wins, plus he has won IBMA's Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year six times, and he fronts their 5-Time Instrumental Group of the Year. 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, delighting audiences, leaving them with jaws dropped in complete amazement.