American Songster Dom Flemons playing banjo against a dark background

Dom Flemons

A GRAMMY award winner who keeps Black History alive through traditional string music

Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Dom Flemons is an EMMY nominated musician and singer who specializes in banjo, guitar, harmonica, and rhythm bones. But that’s not all. Indeed, Mr. James Bullock (local St. Augustine writer, actor, and historian) would refer to Dom Flemons as a ‘Musical Archivist’ — someone whose work (both on and off stage) keeps the past alive. Currently based in Chicago, Flemons has centered his career upon “advocating for traditional music in the United States” through his instrumental stylings, performances, and personal activism.

After graduating from Northern Arizona University in 2005, Dom Flemons moved to North Carolina to become a professional musician. That same year, Flemons helped to form the Carolina Chocolate Drops alongside Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson. This iconic group — all mentored by traditional string musician Joe Thompson — honored the history of Black musicians in America through their songs and concerts. Dom Flemons has continued that mission since he left the band in 2014.

Dom Flemons’ first solo album was released by Music Maker Label in 2009 entitled American Songster. He has been known by that moniker ever since. He made his solo debut on the Grand Ole Opry alongside Carrie Underwood and Old Crow Medicine Show in 2018. Later that year, Flemons released his album Dom Flemons Presents Black Cowboys, which was co-produced by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. His music has appeared on the soundtrack of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a 2020 film starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman (RIP). His most recent album (which consists of original songs) Traveling Wildfire was released in 2023. Flemons and his instruments have toured throughout the world — over a million miles in total — and he has carried his memories, roots, and ancestors all the while.

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