GRAMMY Award Winner, Two-Time EMMY Nominee, 2020 U.S. Artists Fellow
Dom Flemons is originally from Phoenix, Arizona and currently lives in the Chicago area
with his family. 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, slam poet, 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.
In 2020, Dom Flemons re-issued his album titled Prospect Hill: “The American Songster
Omnibus on Omnivore Recordings. The two CD album features 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. His original song “I Can’t Do It
Anymore” was released on a limited edition wax cylinder recording. Recently, he
released a cover of the Elmore James classic “Shake Your Money Maker”, recorded at
Sun Studio in Memphis, alongside Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band and featured guest,
legendary guitarist Steve Cropper. He played his six-string banjo (Big Head Joe), Quills,
and Bones on Tyler Childers groundbreaking album Long Violent History and played jug
alongside Brandford Marsalis on the soundtrack to Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Netflix.
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 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 and has spent over 55 weeks on the
BILLBOARD Bluegrass Charts and Flemons was nominated for “Artist of The Year” at
the International Folk Music Awards, “Best Acoustic Album” at the Blues Music Awards,
and “Best Folk Album” at the Liberia Awards. He won a Wammie Awards for “Best Folk
Album”, won a Living Blues Award for “New Recordings/ Traditional & Acoustic album”,
and received the ASCAP Foundation Paul Williams “Loved the Liner Notes” Award.
Flemons had his major solo debut on the Grand Ole Opry, on a night with Carrie
Underwood and Old Crow Medicine Show and was included in the American Currents
Class of 2018 exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame Exhibit alongside Reba
McEntire, Jeannie Seely, Chris Stapleton, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Kane Brown,
Dan Auerbach, Dan + Shay, John Prine and more.
At the 2018 National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Mid-America Awards
Flemons was nominated for TWO EMMY's 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, a duo album with British musician Martin Simpson titled “Ever Popular
Favourites''was released 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 and at the National
Museum of African American Music in Nashville, TN.
Flemons currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Steve Martin Banjo Prize,
Music Maker Relief Foundation and is a Governor on the Board of Directors for the
Washington, D.C Chapter of the Recording Academy.