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Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper Will Entertain Jan. 11

January 2, 2019
Wetzel Chronicle

The Wetzel County Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Wetzel County) is starting a new concert series in conjunction with the Back Home Appalachian Arts & Music Festival. Organizers started such an endeavor last year, but this year the budget has increased, and Visit Wetzel County is excited about its scheduled upcoming talent.

The concert series begins on Jan. 11 at the Lincoln Theater and will feature Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper. Cleveland, a member of the National Fiddlers Hall of Fame, and Flamekeeper will also be playing at the Back Home Festival as well.

According to, "In the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards' 29-year history, Cleveland is the most-awarded Fiddle Player of the Year." He picked up his first Fiddle Player of the Year award in 2001 and has now won it a total of 11 times.

Article Photos

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper

According to, Cleveland picked up the fiddle at age four, and in 1993, he was chosen to be part of the Bluegrass Youth All Stars at the IBMA's award show. That same year, he made his Grand Ole Opry debut as a guest of Allison Krauss.

Nathan Livers takes care of vocal/mandolin duties for Flamekeeper. Livers was inspired by Bill Monroe's mandolin style and picked up the instrument at the age of 10. He has played in bands such as The "Get Down" Bluegrass Boys with Michael Cleveland, Charlie Lawson, & Oak Hill, Gary Brewer & the Kentucky Ramblers, Tony Holt & the Wildwood Valley Boys, and a Louisville-based bluegrass band, Storefront Congregation, that featured Livers' songwriting on its 2011 release "Kaleidoscope."

Flamekeeper member Tyler Griffith is responsible for vocals and bass. Griffith comes from a musical family and plays guitar, mandolin, trumpet, and piano. He has played for several regional bands, including Vicki & Crew, Penn Central, and Grand Central.

Fact Box

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper will perform at New Martinsville's Lincoln Theater on Jan. 11. The concert is organized by Visit Wetzel County and is part of the organization's concert series leading up to the Back Home Appalachian Arts & Music Festival in Summer 2019.

Josh Richards takes care of vocals/guitar for the Flamekeeper band. Richards was taught to play and sing bluegrass by his father and brother.

Richards has played in several bands, including the Farewell Drifters, Old Louisville Express, and Blue River (2008 Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America band contest winners).

Jasiah Shrode plays banjo for Flamekeeper. He developed an interest in music at a young age and began learning several instruments age 11. Since 2009, he has been a member of Jim Orchard and the Boys.

The cost for the Jan. 11 concert will be $15 per ticket. The Wheeling Park High School Bluegrass Band will be opening up for Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, and the community is invited to attend this special event.

Although Cleveland might not be as well known as other artists in Visit Wetzel County's new series, concert organizers recognize Cleveland as one of the best fiddlers in the world and note that no one should leave the show unimpressed.



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