Credit: Courtesy

My Bluegrass Heart, the latest release by banjo legend and musical ambassador of all styles Béla Fleck, wears its leader’s extraordinary generosity on its sleeve. The double album’s 19 tracks flow onward for nearly two hours, and the list of contributors runs to 25. While it’s by no means a conventional bluegrass album, My Bluegrass Heart is not an avant-garde experiment either. Fleck brings together the usual suspects, such as David Grisman, Edgar Meyer, Jerry Douglas, and Chris Thile. He also pulls in new-school pickers like Sierra Hull and Billy Strings, thus showing his unique command of the idiom he established when he was a member of New Grass Revival 40 years ago. It’s a swinging, jazz-literate, bluegrass universe where ideas matter more than technical prowess, even though there’s plenty of that too. Look for all this instrumental beauty to appear here soon, as UCSB Arts & Lectures ( presents the Béla Fleck My Bluegrass Heart Tour at the Arlington Theatre on Wednesday, December 15. 

This edition of ON Culture was originally emailed to subscribers on April 26, 2024. To receive Leslie Dinaberg’s arts newsletter in your inbox on Fridays, sign up at


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