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Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn to play at the Collins Center

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Editor's Note: Wire Reports contributed to this article.

ORONO After taking home yet another Grammy for his incredible stylings on Banjo with his wife Abigail Washburn, Bela Fleck will be coming to the Collins Center for the Arts on Feb. 29 at 7 p.m.

Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn have collaborated in the past, most visibly in their Sparrow Quartet with Casey Driessen and Ben Sollee. Until last fall, though, any performances they gave as a two-piece were decidedly informal - a pickin' party here, a benefit show at Washburn's grandmother's Unitarian church there. It was inevitable and eagerly anticipated by fans of tradition-tweaking acoustic fare that these partners in music and life (who married in 2009) would eventually do a full-fledged project together.

Perhaps the most decorated bluegrass musician of all time, a winner of 2 Grammy Awards and 31 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, Del McCoury has been called a "national treasure" by the Washington Post. At the age of 77 and with nearly 60 years of touring experience under his belt, McCoury is the recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship Lifetime Achievement Award and is a member of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

Ticket prices are $40, $45, $50, $55, and $65, prices include all fees.

He was gracious enough to answer questions via email with The Maine Edge.

The Maine Edge: What do you do to keep pushing the envelope when it comes to your performances?

Bela Fleck: It helps if I'm passionate about the music I'm playing, and I am inspired by my collaborators. I always play with people that I can learn from, and Abigail is no exception.

TME: What can people expect with your performance with your wife, Abigail Washburn?

BF: We've been gradually bringing in new material, but largely this will be music from our Bla Fleck and Abigail Washburn album, which was released a year ago. We also are playing music from a 6 song EP called Banjo Banjo, which contains new and live cuts - a companion piece to the full length album.

This music features Abby's clawhammer banjo style, and my 3 finger style melded together. She is a wonderful singer and songwriter as well as an excellent banjoist.

We'll have 7 or 8 banjos on stage that we'll pass back and forth. The concert setting allows us to tell stories, goof around, and play a lot of banjo.

TME: How's touring now that you've started a family?

It's incredibly sweet, since we bring Juno with us on tour. We spend the first part of the day doing things with him, finding the local miniature golf course, or children's museum.

Then around soundcheck time we get serious about music.

BF: Has the new addition learned to play? ;)

He's much more interested in golf presently, but me do have some bad ass bus jams. He's taken to singing abstract songs, which we love to hear. When he goes into one, we all get real quiet, and try to turn on our phone recorders as fast as possible.

TME: Thanks for coming back to Maine, will you have a chance to enjoy yourself while you're here?

It'll be a quick one, this time - just in for the day. But we do love coming to Maine, I'm always very happy to see that we're heading north.

BF: You had a famous banjo vs. piano duel with Chick Corea; is there anyone else you'd like to test your mettle against?

I'm preparing for a new duo collaboration with Chris Thile. We're gonna go do a week or so of duo shows this summer, and that should be a pretty fine mettle test. Or mettle fest?

TME: After the banjo, what is your second-best superpower?

I think I'm a pretty good editor/producer. That has helped me to refine my music, both for recording and composing. It's a different skill than playing, for sure,

BF: Anything you want your audience to know, that I may have unwittingly overlooked, or you just feel like getting out there. Thank you so much for your time.

I guess this is where I should mention the thrill of winning a Grammy with your life partner. Abigail and I just won the Best Folk Album Grammy, and it was very validating for our duo project. It's especially cool that it's for an album we made in our basement, in between feedings for our newborn Juno.

For more information about this show visit www.collinscenterforthearts.com.

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