Béla Fleck Releases “My Bluegrass Heart” with Meyer, Schatz, Masat, and Kowert

Béla Fleck: My Bluegrass HeartNo matter the genre, Béla Fleck has always kept the best of musical company in his bands. That goes especially for bassists, and his new album My Bluegrass Heart continues that trend.

The banjo virtuoso’s latest release features 19 songs performed with bluegrass instrumentation, although the songs are not straight-ahead bluegrass. Each song is filled with rich harmonies performed with Fleck’s tricky rhythmic vocabulary, making it more of a blend of country, jazz, classical, and world music.

It’s a real who’s who of bluegrass featuring mandolinists Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, and Chris Thile, fiddlers Michael Cleveland and Stuart Duncan, multi-instrumentalist Justin Moses, and guitarists Billy Strings, Bryan Sutton, and Molly Tuttle.

The bassists on the album are Fleck’s longtime cohorts Edgar Meyer and Mark Schatz as well as Billy Strings bassist Royal Masat and Paul Kowert of the Punch Brothers. Fleck calls the album his first bluegrass album in 20 years and also is a bit of a reunion for him with Schatz.

“Bassist Mark Schatz and I started playing together way back in 77’, in a Boston Bluegrass band unfortunately named Tasty Licks!” Fleck writes. “We moved together to Lexington, KY in 79’ to start Spectrum. In 81’ I joined New Grass Revival, and he went on to play with Tony Rice, Tim O’Brien, and Nickel Creek among many others. I’m thrilled to be reunited with my old, right-hand man, Mark!”

Hear the opening track, “Vertigo,” featuring Meyer with a tasty solo at the 3:30 mark:

My Bluegrass Heart is available now on CD and as a digital download (iTunes and Amazon MP3). A vinyl edition is coming in October.

My Bluegrass Heart Track List:

  1. Vertigo (featuring Sam Bush, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Bryan Sutton)
  2. The Old North Woods
  3. Slippery Eel (featuring Billy Strings and Chris Thile)
  4. Hug Point (featuring Sierra Hull and Molly Tuttle)
  5. Boulderdash (featuring Tony Trischka and Noam Pikelny)
  6. Our Little Secret
  7. Round Rock (featuring Michael Cleveland and Jerry Douglas)
  8. Baptist Pumpkin Farm
  9. Charm School (featuring Billy Strings and Chris Thile)
  10. Strider featuring Sierra Hull and Molly Tuttle
  11. This Old Road featuring David Grisman and Billy Strings
  12. Us Chickens
  13. Sour Grapes
  14. Hunky Dory
  15. Tentacle Dragon (Revenge of the) featuring Billy Strings
  16. Bum’s Rush featuring Sam Bush, Billy Contreras, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer, and Bryan Sutton
  17. Hunter’s Moon
  18. Wheels Up featuring Sierra Hull and Molly Tuttle
  19. Psalm 136 featuring Chris Thile

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