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Artist Spotlight: Dom Flemons

Apr 29, 2019

Photo: Tim Duffy

HOW DOM FLEMONS BECAME “THE AMERICAN SONGSTER”

“Most folk artists go by ‘singer-songwriter’ or simply ‘musician.’ But ‘American songster’ speaks to a greater truth about the work Flemons, a multi-instrumentalist, has accomplished as a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and now…, as a solo artist.”
– The Boston Globe

Grammy Award Winner, Two-Time Emmy Nominee, 2019 Wammie Award Winner- Dom Flemons is originally from Phoenix, Arizona and currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area. He is known as “The American Songster” since his repertoire of music covers over 100 years of American folklore, ballads, and tunes. Flemons is a music scholar, historian, record collector, and a multi-instrumentalist. He is considered an expert player on the Banjo, Fife, Guitar, Harmonica, Jug, Percussion, Quills, and Rhythm Bones.

In 2018, Flemons released an album titled Dom Flemons Presents Black Cowboys on Grammy Award-winning record label Smithsonian Folkways and received a Grammy Nomination for “Best Folk Album” at the 61st Grammy Awards. This recording is part of the African American Legacy Recordings series, co-produced with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. 

Black Cowboys peaked at #5 on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts and Flemons has been nominated for “2018 Artist of The Year” at the International Folk Music Awards, “Best Acoustic Album” at the 2019 Blues Music Awards, “Best Folk Album” at the 2019 A2IM Liberia Awards, and has won a 2019 Wammie Awards for “Best Folk Album”.  In 2018, Flemons had his major solo debut on the Grand Ole Opry, on a night with Carrie Underwood and Old Crow Medicine Show, and has been included in the 2018 class of American Currents at the Country Music Hall of Fame Exhibit alongside Reba McEntire, Jeannie Seely, Chris Stapleton, Molly Tuttle, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Kane Brown, Dan Auerbach, Dan + Shay, John Prine and more.

Flemons was nominated for two Emmys at the 2018 National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Mid-America Awards for PBS Episode: Songcraft Presents Dom Flemons and for the co-written song “Good Ole Days” with Songwriter Ben Arthur. He was the first Artist-in-Residence at the “Making American Music Internship Program” at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in the summer of 2018. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Folk Alliance International, Music Maker Relief Foundation and is an Advisor to the Washington, D.C Chapter of the Recording Academy. 

In 2017, Flemons was featured on David Holt’s State of Music on PBS and performed as bluesman Joe Hill Louis on CMT’s original television show “Sun Records”. In 2016, Flemons released a DUO album with British musician Martin Simpson titled “Ever Popular Favourites” on Fledg’ling Records. He launched a podcast, American Songster Radio, with two seasons on WUNC Public Radio and filmed two instructional DVD’s through Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop. In 2014, Flemons released a critically acclaimed solo album “Prospect Hill” through Music Maker Relief Foundation. 

In 2005, Flemons co-founded the Carolina Chocolate Drops who won a Grammy for “Best Traditional Folk Album” in 2010 and were nominated for “Best Folk Album” in 2012. He left the group to pursue his solo career in 2014. In 2016 the Carolina Chocolate Drops were inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame and are featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

 

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