When you think of a person that is a musical virtuoso you would normally think of someone who plays the Guitar, Violin, piano or any number of other instruments that seem to fit into the mainstream ideology of musicians and music fans everywhere. And while Bela Fleck could have easily became a virtuoso Guitarist he was drawn at an early age in the most unlikely musical direction when he first heard Earl Scruggs- (not a bad influence by the way)- playing the Banjo on the theme song to the Beverly Hillbillies television show. He picked up his first Banjo at the age of 15 from his Grandfather and enrolled in the Emily Dickinson school in Manhattan and later in the New York City High School of music and Art. His early career found him playing with various musicians who would continue to influence his playing and willingness to experiment with would almost be called a classical approach to the way he would come to play the banjo. He released a solo album in 1979 and toured the majority of the early 1980’s playing the bluegrass circuit with mandolin player Sam Bush , until he would eventually form the Flecktones in 1988. Since the inception of his recording career Bela Fleck has been nominated for all in all, 27 Grammy awards and has taken home the gold 11 times. He is widely considered by many to be the premier Banjo player in the world. There are times in life when Rock & Roll if even for a brief moment, infuses the faintest hint of staleness onto my musical palette, and I am curiously drawn to the unfamiliar and what can only be construed as completely different styles of music. Thankfully through a Blogstream friend- (Zappa Fan) during such a time, I was introduced to the unique musical style of Bela Fleck and The Flecktones. And I have been a fan ever since.
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