NYC-native and 16-time Grammy-winner Bela Fleck marks his return to bluegrass with My Bluegrass Heart, out September 10. In preparation for this release, Fleck shared the single “Charm School,” a collaboration with fellow bluegrass musicians Billy Strings and Chris Thile.
Banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck is best known for his work with the bands New Grass Revival and Béla Fleck & the Flecktones. Fleck was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame as a member of New Grass Revival in 2020.
My Bluegrass Heart is the third chapter in Fleck’s multi-decade-spanning trilogy that began with 1988’s Drive and continued in 1999 with The Bluegrass Sessions. Produced and composed by Fleck, My Bluegrass Heart carries on the bluegrass tradition of sharing music between generations.
They nearly always come back, all the people that leave bluegrass. I had a strong feeling that I’d be coming back as well.Béla Fleck
Fleck first shared single “Charm School,” featuring Billy Strings on guitar and Chris Thile on mandolin, on July 28. The track is hypnotizingly fun – the interweaving of instruments is in a soulful, yet danceable way. The inclusion of the count off and “whew!” at the end with excitable agreeance by the other musicians feels so organic. This natural approach makes listeners feel present at the recording session, only to be brought down from bluegrass heaven once the eight-minute piece inevitably comes to an end. “Charm School” is a promising introduction to My Bluegrass Heart, proving that Fleck’s love for the genre is just as passionate as ever.
In some ways, it’s the wildest and jammiest track on the album, and yet highly melodic and organized. I feel this was the perfect vehicle for this band and the perfect band for this song.Béla Fleck
“Charm School” is out now on all major streaming platforms and My Bluegrass Heart is available for preorder on BelaFleck.com.
Fleck has also announced he will be touring My Bluegrass Heart throughout 2021 and 2022, including a special night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on January 7 with Sam Bush, Michael Cleveland, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Sierra Hull, Edgar Meyer, Justin Moses, Mark Schatz, Billy Strings, Bryan Sutton, Chris Thile, Molly Tuttle and more.
Ticket information for the “My Bluegrass Heart Tour” can be found on Bela Fleck’s website and more dates are to come.
Béla Fleck: My Bluegrass Heart Tour
With Michael Cleveland, Sierra Hull, Justin Moses, Mark Schatz, & Bryan Sutton:
9.17 Roanoke, VA // Jefferson Center
9.18 Berryville , VA // Watermelon Pickers’ Fest 2021
9.19 Glenside, PA // The Keswick Theatre
9.21 Pittsburgh, PA // Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall
9.22 Bethesda, MD // The Music Center at Strathmore
9.23 Cumberland, MD // DelFest
9.24 Princeton, NJ // McCarter Theatre Center
9.25 Boston, MA // Berklee Performance Center
9.26 North Adams, MA // FreshGrass
9.28 Kent, OH // The Kent Stage
9.29 Cincinnati, OH // Taft Theatre
9.30 Charlottesville, VA // The Paramount Theater
10.01 Raleigh, NC // IBMA Bluegrass Live!
With Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, & Bryan Sutton:
* = Béla Fleck, Sam Bush, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Bryan Sutton
11.27 Grand Rapids, MI // DeVos Performance Hall
11.28 Fort Wayne, IN // Clyde Theatre
11.29 Milwaukee, WI // Riverside Theater
12.01 St. Louis, MO // The Sheldon Concert Hall
12.02 Des Moines, IA // Hoyt Sherman Place
12.03 Salina, KS // The Stiefel Theatre
12.04 Denver, CO // Paramount Theatre*
12.05 Jackson, WY // Center For The Arts
12.07 Portland, OR // Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
12.08 Seattle, WA // Paramount Theatre*
12.09 Eugene, OR // Jaqua Concert Hall – 2 shows!
12.10 Redding, CA // The Cascade Theatre*
12.11 Reno, NV // Silver Legacy Resort Casino
12.12 Berkeley, CA // The UC Theatre
12.14 Costa Mesa, CA // Segerstrom Center for the Arts
12.17 Los Angeles, CA // Theater at the ACE Hotel
12.19 Tucson, AZ // Fox Tucson Theatre
With Sam Bush, Michael Cleveland, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Sierra Hull, Edgar Meyer, Justin Moses, Mark Schatz, Billy Strings, Bryan Sutton, Chris Thile, Molly Tuttle & more:
1.7.22 Ryman Auditorium // Nashville, TN