Meet the Pickers: Part Three

Aug. 30, 2013 @ 04:54 PM

Following a community dance tonight and a slate of competitions on Saturday, the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention will present a lineup of nine bluegrass acts on Sunday. Here’s a little bit about two of them, Strictly Clean & Decent, and Michael Cleveland. Other acts were featured in the Thursday and Friday editions.

Strictly Clean & Decent – 12:15 p.m.

Q: Describe Strictly Clean & Decent’s sound in one sentence (or a few).

A: “We play a variety of styles in an acoustic setting, so we play a healthy dose of bluegrass, we play western swing, we play Celtic music and we play classic country.”

Q: What inspires your music?

A: “It’s basically two things: bluegrass music in general, and that would be traditional bluegrass by Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers and Flatt and Scruggs, and then also local players, and those people would be people like Clarence Green, George Shuffler, Herb Lambert and Cecil Palmer.”

Q: What’s your favorite thing about the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention?

A: “I think it’s the setting and the people that are so special about it. Of course, this is my home and I see these people year-round, but people who are away from Caldwell County, like people who may come from the Raleigh or Durham area, the thing they talk about year after year is just the beauty, the natural beauty of the place and how friendly the folks are.”

Michael Cleveland – 4 p.m.

Q: Describe your sound in one sentence.

A: "I play bluegrass music and bluegrass is kind of a combination of styles – old-time blues music and jazz, along with some influence from Irish and Scottish music as well."

Q: Why do you love playing bluegrass music?

A: “I love bluegrass just because, well, number one, the energy of that. You can really hear a lot of excitement and passion in the music, you know? All of the players that I grew up listening to, you know, it’s a heartfelt music. They play and you can feel what they’re playing or singing.”

Q: Do you have a favorite song to play live?

“Nah. I’ve had favorite songs over the years, but I can honestly say that I can’t think of any song I dislike, you know? The music’s good. You can have fun playing just about anything.”