GRAMMY Award Winner, Two-Time EMMY Nominee, 2020 United States Artists Fellow- Dom Flemons is originally from Phoenix, Arizona and currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife Vania Kinard and their daughter Cheyanne Love. He has branded the moniker “The American Songster” since his repertoire of music covers over 100 years of early American popular music. Flemons is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, actor, music scholar, historian, and record collector. He is considered an expert player on the banjo, guitar, harmonica, jug, percussion, quills, fife and rhythm bones. Flemons was selected for the prestigious 2020 United States Artists Fellowship Award for the Traditional Arts category which was generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He currently serves as a Governor on the Board of Directors for the Washington, D.C Chapter of the Recording Academy.
On February 28, 2020, Dom Flemons will release his third solo album titled Prospect Hill: “The American Songster Omnibus on Omnivore Recordings. The two CD albums feature three parts: the original Prospect Hill album, the 2015 EP What Got Over, and The Drum Major Instinct which includes twelve previously unissued instrumental tracks.
In 2019, Flemons was chosen to be a “Spotlight Artist” at the Soundtrack of America event curated by the World Renowned Quincy Jones and EMMY Award Winning Director Steve McQueen. He was featured in the Bank of America and Ken Burns ‘Country Music’ commercial that airs regularly on PBS. Also, Flemons had a successful international solo tour in Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, and served as an U.S representative at the YodelFest in Munich, Germany.
In 2018, Flemons released a solo album titled “Dom Flemons Presents Black Cowboys” on GRAMMY Award-winning record label Smithsonian Folkways and received a GRAMMY Nomination for “Best Folk Album” at the 61st GRAMMY Awards. This recording is part of the African American Legacy Recordings series, co-produced with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
The “Black Cowboys” album peaked at #4 on the BILLBOARD Bluegrass Charts and Flemons has been nominated for “2018 Artist of The Year” at the International Folk Music Awards, “Best Acoustic Album” at the 2019 Blues Music Awards, “Best Folk Album” at the 2019 Liberia Awards, won a 2019 Wammie Awards for “Best Folk Album”, won a 2019 Living Blues Award for “New Recordings/ Traditional & Acoustic album”, and received the ASCAP Foundation Paul Williams “Loved the Liner Notes” Award.
In 2018, he had his major solo debut on the Grand Ole Opry, on a night with Carrie Underwood and Old Crow Medicine Show, and has been included in the American Currents Class of 2018 exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame Exhibit alongside Reba McEntire, Jeannie Seely, Chris Stapleton, Molly Tuttle, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Kane Brown, Dan Auerbach, Dan + Shay, John Prine and more.
Flemons was nominated for TWO EMMY’s at the 2018 National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Mid-America Awards for PBS Episode: Songcraft Presents Dom Flemons and for the co-written song “Good Old Days” with Songwriter Ben Arthur.
He was the first Artist-in-Residence at the “Making American Music Internship Program” at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in the summer of 2018. In 2017, Flemons served as the only U.S. performer at the Rainforest Music Festival in Kuching, Malaysia. He was featured on David Holt’s State of Music on PBS and performed as bluesman Joe Hill Louis on CMT’s original television show “Sun Records”. In 2016, Flemons released a DUO album with British musician Martin Simpson titled “Ever Popular Favourites” on Fledg’ling Records. He launched a podcast, American Songster Radio, with two seasons on WUNC Public Radio and filmed two instructional DVD’s through Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop.
In 2007, Flemons had an acting role as a Juke Joint Musician in and recorded songs for the Golden Globe nominated, Oprah Winfrey executive produced, Denzel Washington directed feature film The Great Debaters, starring Denzel and Forest Whitaker.
In 2005, Flemons co-founded the Carolina Chocolate Drops who won a GRAMMY for “Best Traditional Folk Album” in 2010 and were nominated for “Best Folk Album” in 2012. He left the group to pursue his solo career in 2014. In 2016 the Carolina Chocolate Drops were inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame and are featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Flemons has archived the legacy of the CCD’s in his personal collection at the Southern Folklife Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC.
Photo Credit: Scott Baxter