The Untold Life Story Of Michael Cleveland
In the documentary titled Flamekeeper: The Michael Cleveland Story, which Validate Films produced, they investigate the life story of Michael Cleveland.
A fascinating portrayal of a man whose entire life has been centered around his love of bluegrass music is created by director John Presley. He skillfully weaves together recent live performances, interviews with family, friends, and fellow musicians, and video, audio, and photographs from Michael's childhood throughout the feature-length film. Michael's passion for music began to develop from an early age.
His grandparents loved bluegrass music and had an extensive record and 8-track collection during his lifetime. He remembers hearing a violin for the first time and being utterly and completely captivated by it. After that, he spent nights with his head pressed against a speaker to take in as much information as possible.
Michael adds that in contrast to most artists, he enjoys playing the fan-favorite Orange Blossom Special, even though other musicians shy away from it. The music served as his inspiration to start up the guitar, and now he enjoys playing it and finding new ways to express himself via it.
The narrative progresses primarily in chronological order, taking viewers from Michael's parents' concerns upon finding out about his handicap right from the time of his birth until he spent time at the Kentucky School for the Blind, where he received many of his first musical lessons, he had a long and eventful life. He attended this school for some time throughout his childhood.
The film is primarily chronological. Michael's voiceover, in which he described his first week at the residential school when he was a little child, is a very moving point in the film.
After his parents had handed him off at the school, his roommate assured him that it was impossible for him to ever return to his hometown and would be stuck in the institution for the rest of his life. When he finally saw his family the following weekend, his fears were replaced by pleasant surprises.
Several of Michael's bandmates from Flamekeeper also participate in honest interviews for the documentary, which helps to shed light on more recent challenges in Michael's life. While it is clear that they have a great deal of respect for Michael's abilities as a musician and the leader of his band, they also talk about his struggles with alcoholism in the past.
They talk about how those struggles impacted life on the road and how other musicians saw Michael. Everyone in Michael's band agrees that his decision to give up drinking a few years ago was one of the most astute moves he could have made in that situation himself. They said that he should be commended for it.
Flamekeeper is, without a doubt, motivating. After learning about Michael's health problems, notably the significant hearing loss he suffered as a youngster due to ear infections, it is natural to wonder how he could have become such a skilled and highly-regarded artist. However, this is in no way a "poor me" story at any point in time.
Instead, it is more of a look behind the scenes and into the routine life of a famous singer who has otherwise had a relatively secluded existence. Some of the movie's most memorable scenes are when the camera follows Michael through his day-to-day activities, such as providing lessons through Skype, utilizing the voice-recognition software on his iPhone to find apps, and calling a Lyft to transport him to a jam. This glimpse inside Michael's life should be pretty enjoyable for fans of bluegrass music and Michael himself.