Over the last four decades, Béla Fleck has made a point of boldly going where no banjo player has gone before, a musical journey that has earned him 15 Grammy Awards in categories ranging from country to classical. But his roots are in bluegrass, and that's what he returns to on his latest album, My Bluegrass Heart. His first bluegrass album in 24 years, My Bluegrass Heart is more than just a homecoming for Fleck, it features all new compositions and musicians from both the Newgrass aces of Fleck's generation as well as the sharpest young players today. It can reasonably be considered as the third chapter of a trilogy which began with the 1988 album, Drive, and continued in 1991 with The Bluegrass Sessions.
The second tour of the project, which stops at The Shedd for 2 performances Thursday, December 9th, features a who's who of some of the greatest instrumentalists in bluegrass music's history. Sometimes known as the Telluride House Band, sometimes as the Drive Band, containing four fifths of Strength in Numbers, half of New Grass Revival, and half of Goat Rodeo, these musicians have been intertwining in a myriad of ways since the early 1980s and all have been major movers in the forward progression of acoustic music to the present day. We are talking, of course, about Béla Fleck on banjo, Sam Bush on mandolin, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Jerry Douglas on dobro, Edgar Meyer on bass, and Bryan Sutton on guitar.