Mississippi Folklife: The American Songster’s Playlist

As Chair and Associate Professor of English at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, my wife and I, Delta State Associate Professor of Music, Dr. Shelley Collins, serve as the co-chair of Delta State’s International Conference on the Blues. This conference is part of Delta State’s Robert M. Hearin Foundation-supported International Delta Blues Project at The Delta Center for Culture and Learning. It was my great pleasure to interview “The American Songster,” Dom Flemons, during the plenary session of Delta State University’s first International Conference of the Blues. As a founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mr. Flemons won a GRAMMY Award for Genuine Negro Jig, which was the Best Traditional Folk Album of 2011. Although Mr. Flemons lives in North Carolina, he is quick to acknowledge his debt to Mississippi folk music, especially the Delta blues. He told me that his show at Delta State was his first public performance in the Mississippi Delta, so it was a thrill for me to be able to help bring him to the place we call the “Cradle of American Music.”   

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