Montana Public Radio

Bela Fleck

John Floridis

Host John Floridis is spinning tunes for the winter solstice and holiday season, featuring songs by artists who have appeared on Musician’s Spotlight during its 25-year tenure: Ben Harper, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, the Turtle Island String Quartet, Bonnie Raitt, the Indigo Girls, the Cowboy Junkies and Derek Trucks and others.

Complete this sentence: "Béla Fleck is to the banjo as ______ is to the _______." Louis Armstrong to the trumpet?  Jimi Hendrix to the guitar? Clara Rockmore to the theremin? Among North American banjo players, only Earl Scruggs is as legendary (to diehard fans of bluegrass) for pioneering new techniques on this instrument.  From his early tutelage with Tony Trischka and nine years with the New Grass Revival to ingenuity with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones and masters of other genres - as well as his duo with partner Abigail Washburn - Fleck's reinvention of the banjo goes beyond virtuosity. He's a banjo visionary.

MTPR Program Director Michael Marsolek recently hosted The Folk Show on MTPR. He talked with Sierra Hull about her pending trip to Montana, and the first time they met. She was Just 15 years old when MTPR broadcast her set from the first year of the National Folk Festival in Butte in 2008. Listen in to their conversation now.