Dom Flemons

What Else Does the Banjo Sound Like? American Songster Radio Episode 16

Nov 19, 2017
Screen cap from Pinecone’s concert video
Pinecone

Young banjo players Jerron Paxton and Kaia Kater hail from places that are pretty far removed from the American South.  But as they learned their instruments and connected with banjo mentors, they found old-time music well beyond its reputed home region.

Laurent Dubois: American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 12

May 15, 2017

In 2005, Laurent Dubois had an encounter that would spark his transformation from a historian with a banjo to a historian of the banjo.  It was an unusual example of the instrument that began to deepen his curiosity—a Haitian artifact that had languished for most of its life in a museum collection.  

Dom Flemons, the host of WUNC’s American Songster Radio Podcast, has a role in the new CMT TV series Sun Records, which premieres tonight (Thursday 2/23) at 10 PM on CMT.  

Jake Fussell Playing Guitar
Brad Bunyea

Jake Fussell didn’t have to look far for musical inspiration in his home state of Georgia.  Even before he picked up a guitar, he was surrounded by some of the region’s most storied performers and committed documentarians.  Fussell grew up in the town of Columbus, GA, the son of parents whose passion was studying, teaching, and presenting regional culture.  For Fussell, an American folk song like “Raggy Levy” isn’t just an archival find.  It’s a part of his lived experience. 

Dom Flemons with good friend and mentor Bill Ferris
WUNC

Meet Bill Ferris

On the first Sunday of every month, Bill Ferris attended an African-American church on the farm where he grew up. Over time Ferris, a white child, became a routine presence at the church. He especially loved participating in the church’s communal singing. "I learned the hymns, and I just felt very emotionally close to that world," Ferris tells American Songster Radio host Dom Flemons.

While still a very young person, Martin Fisher fell in love with a very old machine. It was Christmas in Tennessee, and Martin's parents kept pestering him to submit his list. Martin remembers that his quirky, nine-year-old self wasn't all that interested in gifts. But his parents persisted, and Martin came up with a response: "I finally said, 'Ok. I'm gonna call their bluff.' And I said, 'have the elves hook up a cylinder player.'"

Dom Flemons and Ketch Secor
Ketch Secor: Michael J. Farrand

American Songster Radio is a monthly look at the roots of American Popular music. It’s hosted by world renowned musician and folklorist Dom Flemons who playfully refers to himself as The American Songster.

For Episode 1 Dom calls on Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show fame for a chat about their shared passion for music and about being  "hardcore Bob Dylan fans."

The program also features Dom playing  two Leadbelly Tunes: "Poor Howard" and  "Goin Dig A Hole to Put the Devil In."

Folk Alley Presents: Dom Flemons

Sep 8, 2014

Many people know Dom Flemons as one-third of the original membership of groundbreaking revivalist stringband Carolina Chocolate Drops. Indeed, with the CCDs, Flemons achieved international acclaim and earned award nominations from organizations like the Americana Music Association and the Grammys. But, before the Chocolate Drops made their debut, he was a performing songster and songwriter, covering the entire scope of what constitutes American folk and roots music — not just the stringband, Carolina-based stuff that would eventually make him folk-famous.

Prospect Hill is Flemons' first album since leaving the band Carolina Chocolate Drops. By coincidence, the multi-instrumentalist recorded the album the day Pete Seeger died.

Originally broadcast July 30.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DOM FLEMONS: (Scat singing). Oh, yeah.