The musical experiences and resulting career of Dom Flemons have been all over the place, from what he was listening to as a kid to the range of instruments he’s learned to play to a long run as a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops right up to his current phase as a solo artist. Which is how he’ll be doing a show, featuring songs from his newest recording, “Black Cowboys,” at Club Passim on Nov. 25.
Reached by phone at his home in Silver Springs, MD, Flemons, 36, who grew up in Phoenix, said he started with drums and percussion, dating back to his grade school days. Fascinated by a PBS documentary on the history of rock ‘n’ roll when he was in junior high school, he became interested in “everything from Louis Jordan and Muddy Waters all the way through Elvis and Carl Perkins and Fats Domino. One episode was on the folk revival of the ’60s and how it transformed into the Summer of Love in California, so that got me listening to the stuff from the Monterey Pop Festival.”
He began playing guitar and then harmonica when he was about 16, his musical interests led him into early New Orleans jazz, and before long he was playing the banjo. By the time Flemons was earning his English degree at Northern Arizona University, he was regularly playing out, either in coffeehouses or busking on street corners, accompanying himself on guitar, coming up as a folk act with a penchant for interpreting old-time songs, often tossing in a couple of originals.