by Stephanie Manning
As has been the case throughout this season, on July 4, the ENCORE Music & Ideas Festival will once again try something new. In a celebration of American music, classical and bluegrass will share the stage at the Dodero Center for Performing Arts in Gates Mills. The 4:30 pm concert will begin with Copland’s Appalachian Spring performed by ENCORE artists, before shifting to Michael Cleveland and his band Flamekeeper, who will deliver what is certain to be a high energy performance.
“We’re gonna get up there and jam out,” Cleveland said in a recent phone interview. “That’s what we do.” The band won’t formally decide on a set list until concert day, but the fiddler said the performance will last 30 to 45 minutes and will include songs from their records.
With six albums to their credit, Flamekeeper has a lot of music to choose from. Their most recent release, Tall Fiddler, won the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. Cleveland, who is blind and partially deaf, has wowed audiences with his fiery playing from a young age. He formed the group in 2006, which includes Chris Douglas on bass, Nathan Livers on mandolin, Josh Richards on guitar, and Jasiah Shrode on banjo.