The Bluegrass Situation: LISTEN: DOM FLEMONS, “HOT CHICKEN”

In Their Words: “In 2012, I was in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, doing a tintype photo session with photographer Bill Steber. Knowing that I was in the area for a few days, Bill recommended that I try one of the best-known regional dishes, hot chicken. After the session, I made my way over to the strip mall in East Nashville, Tennessee, where Prince’s Hot Chicken, the original restaurant, was located. I was fortunate to have my friend Bill prepare me for what I was about to encounter with this amazing dish. He explained that it would take me on a mystical journey if I ordered the extra hot. So, I decided to indulge in the medium-hot flavor and I was instantly inspired to write this song.

“This hokum song is reminiscent of the 1930s era of music that was developed by songsters like Thomas A. Dorsey, Tampa Red, Bo Carter, and Papa Charlie Jackson. Songs like these use small lyrical vignettes to frame a chorus that has a free changing meaning throughout each verse. The vignettes I’ve created incorporate a lot of animal imagery and parables, which is a strong part of early African American music and folktales. This version from What Got Over (a 2015 EP released for Record Store Day) features my vocals and harmonica accompanied by a muscular guitar vibe from Guy Davis. Here’s something I shared in my podcast about the song in a special bonus episode of American Songster Radio.” — Dom Flemons, The American Songster

Read more here. 

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