The Blue Ridge Music Center and Yadkin Arts Council announce the eighth annual Sounds of the Mountains concert series. The performances will be held the last three Saturday evenings in January in the Willingham Theater at Yadkin Cultural Arts Center in Yadkinville. Artists include award-winning bluegrass fiddler Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper and folk and roots music performers from the Piedmont Triad’s vibrant contemporary Americana music scene: Maia Kamil, The Queen Bees, His & Hers, and Molly McGinn and the Woodshed Experience
Award-winning artist Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper kick off the series at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 13. Tickets are $35.
Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper always present high energy bluegrass shows. Cleveland is the most awarded International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Fiddle Player of the Year, with 13 wins to his name. He is a six-time winner of the IBMA Instrumental Performance of the Year. His band, Flamekeeper, has won Instrumental Group of the Year seven times. Cleveland was inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame in 2018 and received the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship in 2022.
Cleveland’s most recent album, Lovin’ Of the Game, featuring guest appearances by Billy Strings, Bela Fleck, Jeff White, Vince Gill, Dan Tyminski and The Travelin’ McCourys, is nominated for a 2024 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. This nomination follows his Grammy Award win in 2022 for the album Tall Fiddler.
Cleveland and the band garnered four nominations at the 2023 IBMA Awards for Instrumental Group and Album of the Year for Lovin’ of the Game, Instrumental Recording of the Year for the song Contact with Cody Kilby, Barry Bales, and Bela Fleck, and Collaborative Recording of the Year for the song For Your Love with Billy Strings and Jeff White. The title track was just named one of the Top 20 songs of 2023 by the music streaming service Folk Alley.
Cleveland has also been featured as one of the members of Fleck’s band, My Bluegrass Heart, for the current tour, along with Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, Justin Moses, Chris Thile, and Bryan Sutton.
The next show in the series features singer-songwriter Maia Kamil with special guest The Queen Bees at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 20. Tickets are $20.
Kamil has spent years refining a musical style that weaves eclectic influences, vocal dexterity, and complex lyrics. The North Carolina transplant is a magnificent vocalist whose neo-soul, folk, and blues blend has been compared to Norah Jones. She has worked closely with critically acclaimed jazz-rock fusion guitarist Charlie Hunter.
Opening the show will be The Queen Bees, a musical collaboration between three musicians from Greensboro, N.C. The group is comprised of award-winning musician and journalist, Molly McGinn; renowned electronic music producer and songwriter, Quilla; and esteemed musician and creative producer Kate Musselwhite Tobey. The group’s uplifting blend of traditional acoustic instruments, modern electronic loops, and folk style story songs made their performance at the latest NC Folk Fest a highlight of the event.
Rounding out the series is His & Hers with special guests Molly McGinn and the Woodshed Experience at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 27. Tickets are $20.
His & Hers is an Americana folk band from Mocksville, N.C., fronted by husband and wife Caleb and Sara Davis. They’ve performed at MerleFest, Carolina in the Fall, and the Blue Ridge Music Center, and shared the stage with Scythian, The Steeldrivers, Zoe and Cloyd, and many others.
Opening the concert will be Molly McGinn and the Woodshed Experience featuring sacred steel guitarist DaShawn Hickman, songwriter and guitarist Dave Willis, bassist Jared Church, and drummer Nate Turner. Willis, Church, and Turner are members of the popular roots rock band Possum Jenkins.
For tickets and more information, visit BlueRidgeMusicCenter.org or call the Yadkin Arts Council at (336) 679-2941.