Musician Dom Flemons Appreciates History, Libraries And Fine Songs

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Dom Flemons grew up in Arizona and almost from the start was fascinated by folk music. And, very often, the music he loved best wasn’t widely available and so, in those pre-Internet days, Flemons would have to seek out the music armed only with a phone book and a library card.

“You would hear about a recording and then you would have to try to find where someone had that recording, so you’d have to hit up all the record shops and ask if they had it,” Flemons says. “The library was always important for me. In Phoenix, Arizona, where I’m originally from, the library happened to be a big library. They had just put some extra funding into it to make it a huge library. So they had a big amount of CDs when I was growing up.”

Flemons educated himself on the music of the past by watching documentaries on public television. Each documentary led to a search for more music.

“Every time that I would watch a documentary I would try to find CDs by the people that I heard about,” he says. “You just get names and you get stories to associate with those names. At that time, I used to find as much historical footage as I could of different musicians. Nowadays, we have YouTube and stuff like that. It’s not quite as arduous of a task to go into the library, find every video that they have and see if you can find that little clip. But it’s still a search that can be quite fulfilling if you’re looking for that special little footage that you hear on record. Just to see them visually, you’re able to take in the music in a whole different way.”

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