Often I’ve imagined that, somewhere along the line, I would develop the sense of a virtuosic musician, improvising on guitar to Sultans of Swing a la Knopfler in ’79, or drumming easily to a Bonham solo. Though it may be the fantastical wish of a music writer, those who communicate so effortlessly through sublime instrumental delivery become my greatest idols, the conveyors of a language in which I will long to be fluent. When I first heard Béla Fleck on ”Sinister Mister,” his banjo solo took first place in the queue of my inspired imagination.
Renowned as one of the most innovative and prolific banjo players of all time, Béla Fleck spans a wide array of genres (jazz fusion, bluegrass, pop), combining elements of each with a creative sensibility and unparalleled technical prowess. His understanding of different musical styles reaches far past the muscle memory required to pluck out melodies with astounding note-for-note precision and rhythmic accuracy; Béla is a musician who reaches into the bodies of these musical elements, scooping out the souls of bluegrass and jazz, and mixes them together into an unprecedented and transcendent whole.
It is for this reason that Béla Fleck has been up for Grammy nominations in more categories than any other musician; his music spans cultures and generations, compelling us into the spirit of true universality. Twists and grooves lead his compositions, a collection of winding yet cohesive masterpieces, honoring the intersection of his diverse musical interests.
A resident of Nashville, Fleck gives us his five city favorites below. Catch his this Sunday at 4pm, for a free in-store at Grimey’s with Brooklyn Rider, who played on his newest album, The Impostor, with the Nashville Symphony.
Watch a video of Béla and the Brooklyn Rider here.
Nashville Five by Béla Fleck :::
- Coffee House – I like JJ’s Coffee House, as well as Portland BrewJJ’s Coffee House. The Well has a nice vibe too. It’s harder to get to West Nashville for some of the cool new options for coffee.
- Music venue – I like the Station Inn – great vibe, great music, great history. It’s the informal home of Bluegrass Music in Nashville.
- Nature – I like Radnor Lake – it’s not far from our home, and it’s that moment of peace that we all need with nature, in the midst of the insanity of life.
- Restaurant – I like the Yellow Porch, it feels homey and yet special. I proposed to my wife Abby there, and they let me print out a special menu with the proposal on it that they gave to us after we sat down to order.
- Muffin – I like the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins made by Anne’s Cakes. Not the skinny ones – avoid those…
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