Dom Flemons

Old Time, Piedmont Blues

Dom Flemons is The American Songster. He’s crisscrossed the United States several times over collecting songs, stories and tunes along the way.  The PineCone community first got to know him in the early 2000’s when he lived in North Carolina.

It was in the Piedmont that he met fiddler Joe Thompson who at the time was widely recognized as being one of the last keepers on the Black string band tradition. Dom and a small group of friends were mentored by Joe.  They spent time with him at his home in Mebane, learned his tunes and carried on the tradition.

In 2005 Dom co-founded the Carolina Chocolate Drops, which quickly became one of the most successful old time bands of all time. The band released their first records for the local Music Maker Relief Foundation but later signed to the prestigious Elektra/Nonesuch label. Dom and the band won a Grammy Award for their album “Genuine Negro Jig.” Dom left the band in 2014 and launched a successful solo career. In 2023 Dom and the Carolina Chocolate Drops received a lifetime achievement award from the Charlie Poole Festival.

Dom curated an evening in 2017 for PineCone that included fellow travelers Kaia Kater and Jerron Paxton. The following year his record “Dom Flemons presents Black Cowboys” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Folk Album. It was released on Smithsonian/Folkways.

“Black Cowboys” was also the subject of Season Two of the American Songster Radio Podcast produced in partnership with North Carolina Public Radio WUNC. “I spent years pouring over the subject,” Dom said in the intro to the podcast. He said he’s been “…trying to shed light on a few basic mysteries, like who were the African Americans who migrated West after emancipation.” The early episodes are still available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Season Three of The American Songster Radio is produced in partnership with WSM Radio and features guests Bobby Rush, Steve Martin and Mickey Guyton.

Dom returned to Raleigh in 2022 as one of the headliners at IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC. PineCone commissioned him to create “Shultz’s Dream,” a Black string band in the spirit of bluegrass pioneer Arnold Shultz.

Dom Flemons’ song “Shultz’s Dream” was commissioned by PineCone for the 2022 festival IBMA Bluegrass Live! powered by PNC.

Northern Arizona University awarded Dom an honorary Doctoral Degree in 2022 for “…his commitment and contributions to the arts and education.” Dom now lives in the Chicago area with his wife Vania Kinard, daughter Cheyanne Love and a roomful of records.