Matt Flake, from Leitchfield, KY, started playing mandolin at age 9, and picked up the fiddle a year later. While taking an orchestra class that year, he began taking private lessons from Jessie Haycraft, a teacher who had a reputation for producing fine fiddle players such as Jimmy Mattingly, Mark Ralph, Edward Carnes, Steve Day and many others. Matt started entering instrument competitions a year later, having quite a bit success for several years placing in the top 3 in various guitar, mandolin, and fiddle competitions.
At age 13, he joined his first bluegrass band, Blue Tradition, and developed a love for bluegrass music. The band had quite a bit of success winning band competitions in Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee. Matt also picked up some work playing at several country jamborees in KY and IN. After Matt graduated high school in 2004, he was hired the following October for his first touring bluegrass gig with Pine Mountain Railroad, based out of Knoxville, TN. Spending several years there, the band recorded several albums including Pickin’, Praisin’, Singin’, which was nominated for a Dove Award. In 2006, Matt moved to Sevierville, TN and began playing with local east Tennessee musicians for Gatlinburg Tunes and Tales during the summer, where he met his wife Betsy.
In 2010, Matt decided it was time for a change and co-founded Monroeville with Daniel Salyer, Matt Munsey, Travis Houck, Seth Taylor, and Zane Petty. There, he got to sing the national anthem for the NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway while touring and playing some of the country’s best bluegrass and Americana festivals. A couple of years later, Matt decided it was time to come off the road for a while and focus on raising a family, taking a job as Entertainment Director at Ole Smoky Distillery, the world’s most visited distillery. During that time, he founded Firewater Junction and played locally for the distillery for the next few years, getting to play with various superstars dropping by to visit the distillery, such as Dierks Bentley and The Soggy Bottom Boys.
Currently, Matt still works at Ole Smoky Distillery as Entertainment Director, manages Firewater Junction, and has recently started touring with a comedic, bluegrass, pop cover band called The Cleverlys, which recently had a video go viral with almost 10 million views in 3 months.