Flemons Brings Broad History of the American West Forward


Songster and multi-instrumentalist, Dom Flemons started his path busking on the streets while attending Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff. The often well versed musicians “busk” in public places for sometimes handsome  gratuities, while sharing their eclectic repertoire.

During this time, a young Flemons connected with veteran percussionist, banjo player and folklorist Sule Greg Wilson, who worked with everyone from Nigerian percussionists to Piedmont blues performers. Wilson became a coach to Flemons and helped him develop his playing and historic knowledge of blues and folk music. Flemons developed a passion for learning songs and teaching history. Now, as an ethnomusicologist, Flemons digs into the African American roots of American folk music, jazz and blues, presenting music and stories of the American West.

On Sept. 22, Flemons will perform numbers from his solo album, Dom Flemons Presents Black Cowboys at San Pedro’s Grand Annex. Noting its historical context, the album was released in March on the Grammy winning record label Smithsonian Folkways. The recording has the distinguished stature of being part of the African American Legacy Recordings series. Further, it was co-produced with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

The album also comes with a 40-page liner note booklet. It is a reminder that the old West was a much more diverse environment than Western films would have us believe.

Read more here. 

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