Dr. Dom Flemons comes off as older than his 40 years and I think it’s because he seems like he is of a different era. This is thanks in part to his work in teaching and interpreting such old songs, such as his work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops which he was in alongside Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson. Originally from Phoenix, Dom is considered an expert player on the banjo, guitar, harmonica, jug, percussion, quills, fife and rhythm bones. When he was 18 years old, he saw Dave Van Ronk in concert and was completely taken with the way Van Ronk told the stories and history behind the old songs he was playing. From then on, Dom also would give the background of the songs he performed in concert, leading to much intense research for songs and their backstories.
He began work on his latest album Traveling Wildfire during the pandemic. He wanted “to figure out a way to give the listener a way to process the world around them without being too didactic.” The record is filled with Dom’s most personal songs about his family, history and, of course, interpretations of very old songs. We talk about all this and his strong style game, which, I’m sure, no one is surprised by.
Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez