Dom Flemons & Shultz’s Dream
The Making of Shultz’s Dream
Thanks to a grant from the IBMA Foundation’s Arnold Shultz Fund, PineCone is taking steps to
reimagine a piece of bluegrass history. PineCone commissioned Dom Flemons to assemble a
string band to interpret what Arnold Shultz might have sounded in rural Kentucky in the early
1900s. The band is led by Dom Flemons (The American Songster). He is joined by Dante’ Pope
(formerly of Crossrhodes), Brian Farrow (of Ganstagrass), IBMA Award winning banjo player
Tray Wellington and expert Dr. Richard Brown who was the special guest.
The Arnold Shultz story is one that has been shared in bluegrass circles for decades. As much
as bluegrassers love to talk about the Shultz legacy and influence, there is very little
documentation of his life and music. There are only two known photos, no tune list and no
recordings. “Without recordings of Arnold Shultz we’ll never really know what he sounded like
when he picked,” says Dom Flemons. But Dom is trying to change that. For this project he’s
writing an original song called “Shultz’s Dream.” He is also researching tunes for the band that
were played during the time when Shultz and Bill Monroe knew each other.
Shultz’s Dream (The Band)
Dom Flemons, is a musician based in the Chicago area and he is famously known as The
American Songster® since his repertoire covers over one hundred years of American roots
music. Flemons is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, music scholar, actor, slam poet, record collector, and the creator, host, producer of American Songster Radio Show on 650 AM WSM in
Nashville, TN. He is considered an expert player on the banjo, guitar, harmonica, jug, percussion, quills, fife and rhythm bones. In 2022, he received a degree as a Doctor of Humane Letters from his alma mater Northern Arizona University and was the commencement speaker at the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2022. In 2020, Flemons was selected for the prestigious United States Artists Fellowship Award for the Traditional Arts category which was
generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Dante' Pope was the drummer and music director for soul artist and lyricist Raheem Devaugh
and Wes Felton, known as The Crossrhodes. Their NPR Tiny Desk show was one of the highlights of his during time touring nationally with The Crossrhodes. Dante’ is a GRAMMY Board member in the Washington, DC Chapter and was featured on the 2019 GRAMMY-nominated album called, ‘Black Cowboys.’ The project, a collaboration with Smithsonian Folkways and GRAMMY award-winning artist Dom Flemons, co-founder of the group, the Carolina Chocolate drops.
Growing up on Flint Hill Rd., musician Trajan “Tray” Wellington was destined to be attracted to the 5-string banjo. Tray’s love for music bloomed at an early age while he listened to his grandpa play diverse styles of music. He didn’t start playing stringed instruments until he received his first electric guitar at age 13. Soon, he became interested in learning how to flat pick guitar, which led him to hear the banjo for the first time. His interest piqued, he began practicing, and his playing and musicianship have since flourished. From learning traditional bluegrass to studying diverse genres such as jazz, progressive bluegrass, blues, rock, and
more, Tray has gone on to play with some of the most accomplished musicians in the world.
Before reaching the age of 21, he has received a number of awards and accolades, including
two awards from IBMA — 2019 IBMA Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year and 2019
Momentum Band of the Year (with Cane Mill Road).
Brian Farrow is a musician, educator, songwriter, and independent researcher who has a focus
in reshaping and reflecting American’s musical history through sharing stories, creative musical
expression through popular/historic musical structures, and inclusive dialog. From touring with
Grammy award winner Dom Flemons to, giving talks at the Library Company of Philadelphia,
and running a music program in Greece with the refugees, Mr. Farrow forms a discipline in
understanding the unspoken roots of music and exploring the impact of expression on cultural
history. You can hear Farrow as a member of the Clara Barton Sessions, a recording of DC
folk/traditional musicians who released an album commemorating the revitalization of the Clara
Barton Museum, Elena y Los Fulanos’ Volcàn, R&B Soul artist Dante Pope’s After 5 Music, and
on Dom Flemon’s Grammy nominated album Black Cowboys under Smithsonian’s Folkways
label. You can find Farrow in a library, playing his fiddle at a busy intersection, the occasional
solo show or presentation, or touring with Gangstagrass.