Michael Cleveland

REVIEW: Michael Cleveland “Lovin’ of the Game”


Michael Cleveland has a new album hot off the presses, Lovin’ of the Game, available on March 3. Lovin’ Of The Game was produced by Jeff White, Michael Cleveland and Sean Sullivan.  The album features an array of talented guest appearances by folk like Béla Fleck, Billy Strings, Charlie Starr of Blackberry Smoke, Jeff White, The Travelin’ McCourys and Vince Gill.

Michael Cleveland is a fiddle player.  A violinist extraordinaire, if you don’t already know.  His regular band is Flamekeeper, although this album is full of guests.

The title track, “Lovin’ of the Game” leads off with fast and enthralling fiddle and banjo and the classic bluegrass old-timey harmonies soon kick in.  “I would not trade my fortune for the lovin’ of the game…. I’d broadcast my affections to the United Nations….”  Right on.

“Luxury Liner” features the Travelin’ McCourys and tells one of this instantly classic bluegrass tales, in traditional gritty bluegrass harmonies.

“For Your Love” features Billy Strings and Jeff White, and sets up a driving rhythm that captures you entirely from the outset.  “rob me a gin mill … your love ain’t just a cover, it’s a whole magazine…. for your love I’d stop a freight train…”  and lots of lovable hyperbole ensues.

“I Wish I Knew Now What I Knew” features Vince Gill, Jeff White and Jerry Douglas and is a country waltz of lament.

“Contact” features  Bela Fleck banjo with Michael’s flashy speedy fiddlin’ and banjo playing to mesmerize your ears from the very first note in a wild instrumental ride.

“Sunny Days Are Comin’ Once Again” solidifies Cleveland’s position in the bluegrass community, with guitar by Jeff White and Dan Tyminski on guitar.  Joyous choruses about blue skies and rooster calls are a real pick me up on this one.

“One Horse Town” Charlie Starr on vocals and is a crossover treat for Blackberry Smoke fans, sung in a mournful lonesome tone ’til the catchy, gently rockin’ groove sets in.

Get ahold of this album for the talent and the powerful enjoyable ride from start to finish.  Find more information, music and tour dates here: https://www.michaelclevelandfiddle.com

Musicians on the album are Michael Cleveland on fiddle and guitar; Tim O’Brien on vocals and fiddle; Nathan Livers on mandolin; Jasiah Shrode on banjo; Chris Douglas on bass; Jason Carter on lead vocals and fiddle; Ronnie McCoury on harmony vocals and mandolin; Alan Bartram on harmony vocals and bass; Rob McCoury on banjo; Cody Kilby on guitars; Cody Looper on banjo; Billy Strings on lead vocals and guitar; Jeff White harmony vocal, lead vocals and guitar; Vince Gill on lead vocal; Becky Isaacs Bowman on harmony vocals; Jerry Douglas on dobro; Justin Moses on mandolin and banjo; Dan Tyminski on guitar; Barry Bales on bass; Dan Tyminski on harmony vocals and mandolin; Bela Fleck on banjo; Luke Bulla on lead vocals and fiddle; Bryan Sutton on guitar; Josh Richards on lead vocals and guitar; Jasiah Shrode on banjo; Josh Richards on lead vocals and guitar; Charlie Starr on lead and harmony vocals; Chris Douglas and bass; Larry Atamanuik on drums.

The album was mixed by Sean Sullivan, Michael Cleveland, Jeff White, and Mark Howard.  It was recorded at The Tractor Shed in Goodlettsville, TN, and at Cowboy Arms, Nashville, TN by Sean Sullivan. Charlie Starr’s vocal was recorded at West End Sound and engineered by Thomas Tapley.  The album was mastered by Randy LeRoy at Tonal Park in Takoma Park, MD.

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