Audio Mixers: Michael Cleveland ; Jeff White; Steve Chandler.
Liner Note Author: Matt Glaser.
Recording information: Hilltop Studios, Nashville, TN.
Photographer: Señor McGuire.
On their second album, the appropriately titled Fired Up, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper continue to come off as a traditional bluegrass super group. Fiddler Cleveland may be the nominal frontman, but this is an ensemble of five veterans, with guitarist Tom Adams, banjo player Jessie Baker, mandolinist Jessie Brock, and bassist Marshall Wilborn each contributing original compositions and taking the lead role over the course of the disc. Their songs sound traditional, and the rest of the songs really are traditional, dating back to the Delmore Brothers' 1937 number "I've Got the Railroad Blues" and including the '60s tune "Goin' Up Dry Branch" and Tom T. Hall's story song "I'm Gonna Ride That Steamboat." Wilborn gives the disc a fittingly reverent send-off with the closer, "Bigger Hands Than Mine," on which Vince Gill makes a modest appearance singing tenor vocals to Wilborn's lead. This is a band full of bluegrass prize winners, and they play like it. ~ William Ruhlmann