July 7, 2018
By: Dwayne Page
Award-winning fiddle player Michael Cleveland was presented the 2018 Blue Blaze Award from the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival Saturday evening.
Jamboree Marketing Director Shan Burklow made the introduction and Coordinator Sam Stout presented the award. Cleveland said he was pleased to have been chosen to receive the honor. Cleveland and his band Flamekeeper entertained the audience with a mini-concert after the presentation.
Cleveland has won more IBMA awards than any other fiddle player including 10 wins for Fiddle Player of the Year, six wins for Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year, and fronts their 5-time Instrumental Group of the Year. On March 30th, Michael was inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 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 and delighting audiences, while leaving them with jaws dropped in complete amazement.
“Michael Cleveland embodies what we look for in a musician when choosing a recipient for the Blue Blaze Award,” said Stout. He started performing at the Jamboree as a young boy, and grew his talent to an impressive career in bluegrass music. The purpose of the Blue Blaze Award is to recognize a group or individual who keeps the embers of bluegrass music glowing for future generations. Michael Cleveland certainly does that, and more. He is an inspiration to all of us,” said Stout.
Cleveland has a very loyal fan base, along with an amazing story. Michael was born blind, along with many additional health complications. He has endured over 20 reconstructive surgeries including brain surgery. In addition to these challenges, he lost 80% of his hearing in his left ear. But Michael Cleveland is not a ‘glass half empty’ kind of guy. He prefers to focus on his goals, his love of music, and being the best in his field. Although only in his mid-30’s, Michael Cleveland, a 2018 Grammy Nominee, has reached plenty of those goals.
Cleveland began his love affair with music by taking violin lessons at only four years old. This passion for the stringed instrument led him to bluegrass music. His teachers quickly labeled him a musical prodigy. “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. During this time, he visited the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and competed alongside fiddle players of all ages and skill levels. Soon after, he brought his virtuosic style to the Grand Ole Opry as a guest of Alison Kraus, 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. However, it wasn’t until 2006, when Michael formed his own band Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, that he found the right vehicle for his musical vision, and he hasn’t rested since, constantly looking for new ways to push himself and his music forward.
One would think that with all of his life-long accolades, his own award-winning band, a concert tour, and celebrity performances at the Opry, that Cleveland would have no more goals to shoot for…but we know him better than that. ‘Flamekeeper – The Michael Cleveland Story’ is a feature length documentary film coming in 2018. To follow Michael Cleveland’s journey, go to www.flamekeeperband.com or follow his facebook page.
Grand Champion Jamboree Fiddler to be Crowned Tonight (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)
July 7, 2018
By: Dwayne Page
The Grand Champion Fiddler of the 47th annual Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival will be crowned tonight.
The Saturday program starts at 9 a.m. with the finals in the Junior Clogging and Senior Buck Dancing events.
(VIEW VIDEO OF FRIDAY NIGHT’S WINNER OF THE OLD TIME FIDDLE BAND COMPETITION-THE SLIM CHANCE BAND OF SMYRNA)
Preliminaries will then be held in the following categories:
Junior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance (ages up to 39); Senior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance ( ages 40 and over); Senior Buckdancing (ages 40 and over); Senior Clogging (ages 40 and over); Bluegrass Banjo; Junior Fiddlers (ages 13-39); Flat Top Guitar; Contest Fiddle for the Neil Dudney Award; Bluegrass Band; Senior Fiddlers (ages 40 and over); and Square Dancing (4 Couples-8 Total Dancers).
(VIEW VIDEO OF FRIDAY NIGHT’S WINNER OF THE GOSPEL SINGING COMPETITION AMONG DUOS, TRIOS AND QUARTETS- HARVEY BROWN SMITH OF BEECHGROVE)
Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be called back tonight to compete for first, second, and third place.
Two long rain delays forced organizers of the Jamboree to alter the Friday schedule, moving the traditional opening ceremony at 6 p.m. to this afternoon at 4 p.m. A United States flag and a Tennessee State flag will be presented during the program. The flags, which have flown over the state capitol, go to the persons who travel the greatest distances, both from inside and outside the country, to get here. The flags will be presented by State Senator Mark Pody and State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Clark Boyd.
The Smithville Community Chorus will also perform a variety of patriotic songs.
Fiddler’s Jamboree Craft Awards will be presented today for “Best of Show”, “Best Appalachian Craft”, “Best Newcomer”, and “Best Craft Display”
Award-winning fiddle player Michael Cleveland has been named the 2018 Blue Blaze Award Winner for the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival and he will be accepting the award on this evening at 5pm followed by a mini-concert by Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper.
The winners of the Junior and Senior Fiddling competition will square off for the Grand Champion Award, the Berry C. Williams Memorial Trophy at the conclusion of the festival.
Meanwhile, the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners will be held this afternoon during the Jamboree featuring competitions for children, up to age twelve, in the categories of Buck Dancing, Clogging, Dobro Guitar, Mandolin, Five String Banjo, Flat Top Guitar, and Fiddle.
Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be brought back to compete for first, second, and third place.
One child will receive the Best Overall Instrumental Entertainer Trophy Award and the top fiddler will get the James G. “Bobo” Driver Memorial Trophy.
The youth square dancing preliminaries, which began Friday before the second round of rain, will be completed on today prior to the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners. The finals for youth square dancing will follow the beginners’ competition.
In addition to the on-stage musical entertainment, the Fiddlers Jamboree will feature many crafts, plenty of delicious food; and lots of shade tree picking around the public square.
WJLE will broadcast most of the on-stage entertainment LIVE on AM 1480/ FM 101.7 and LIVE Streaming at www.wjle.com.
For more information on the festival, go to www.fiddlersjamboree.com.
Performers Jam Until Midnight on Opening Day of Fiddlers Jamboree
July 6, 2018
By: Dwayne Page
The first day of the 47th Annual Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival Friday featured lots of singing, picking, dancing, and rain.
Two long rain delays forced organizers of the Jamboree to alter the Friday schedule, moving the traditional opening ceremony at 6 p.m. to Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. The youth square dancing preliminaries, which began Friday before the second round of rain, will be completed on Saturday prior to the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners. The finals for youth square dancing will follow the beginners competition. Meanwhile the finals of the Junior Clogging and Buck Dancing will also be held on Saturday to open the day’s events at 9 a.m. The dancing categories were moved to Saturday to keep the contestants from performing on a wet stage.
Thunderstorms forced the first rain delay at 1 p.m.. Two hours later the program resumed only to be halted again around 5 p.m. A tent was later set up on the stage to give cover from the rain for the remaining contests on the Friday program. The rain finally stopped as darkness set in.
The following are the Friday winners:
*Old Time Appalachian Folk Singing (Solo):
First Place-Andrey Smith of Pikeville
Second Place- Addie Cooksey of Cedar Hill
Third Place-Graham Nash of Cookeville
*Junior Clogging (Ages 13-39):
First Place- Matthew Randolph of Cookeville
Second Place-Gary Giles of Franklin
Third Place-Sierra Tomlin of Springfield
*Junior Buck Dancing (Ages 13-39):
First Place- Jason Wade of Paris, Tennessee
Second Place- Gracie Parrish of Pleasant Shade
Third Place-Jamie Hash of Walland
*Old Time Appalachian Folksinging (Duet, Trio, Quartet)
First Place- Cornelia Overton and Sarah Cripps of Smithville
Second Place-Giri and Uma Peters of Nashville
Third Place-Mark Thomas and Samantha Lewis of Nashville
First Place-Ivy Phillips of Chapmansboro
Second Place-Chad Davis of Sparta
Third Place-Jason Sanders of Hickman
First Place-Keith Oler of Murphy, North Carolina
Second Place-Lynsey Smith of Dunlap
Third Place-Daniel Amick of Centerville
*Hammer Dulcimer: NO ENTRY
First Place- Hillary Klug of Shelbyville
Second Place-Two Daves and Too Short of Alexandria
Third Place-John Cross of Gamalin, Kentucky
First Place- Bill Rothe of Estill Springs
Second Place-Deanna Mathis of Watertown
Third Place-Bettye Kash of Cookeville
*Gospel Singing (Solo):
First Place-Annabella Dakas of Smithville
Second Place- Ivy Phillips of Chapmansboro
Third Place-Josh Issac of Smithville
First Place- Rob Pearcy of Smyrna
Second Place- Daniel Amick of Centerville
Third Place-Jesse Dayton of Leitchfield, Kentucky
*Old Time Banjo:
First Place-Daniel Amick of Centerville
Second Place-Conner Steven of Johnson City
Third Place- Ivy Phillips of Chapmansboro
*Youth Square Dancing:
First Place- A Step Up of Waverly
Second Place-Jackson Hollow of Franklin
Third Place- Steppin’ Time of Waverly
*Gospel Singing (Duet, Trio, & Quartet):
First Place-Harvey Brown Smith of Beechgrove
Second Place-Cornelia Overton and Sarah Cripps of Smithville
Third Place-Ivy Phillips and Jesse Payton of Chapmansboro
First Place-Giri Peters of Nashville
Second Place-Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro
Third Place- Daniel Amick of Centerville
*Old Time Fiddle Band:
First Place-The Slim Chance Band of Smyrna
Second Place-Fiddle Feet and Friends of Shelbyville
Third Place- Giri and Uma Peters of Nashville
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