Dom Flemons

Dom Flemons

Mike Oberst (of The Tillers)

Fri · December 1, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

The Southgate House Revival-Revival Room

$12.00 - $15.00

This event is all ages

Dom Flemons
Dom Flemons
“Dom Flemons is a Grammy Award winning musician, singer-songwriter, and slam poet. Carrying on the songster tradition, Flemons strives to mix traditional music forms with a contemporary approach, to create new sounds that will appeal to wider audiences. In his recent solo album Prospect Hill (2014), Flemons drew from a wide range of styles, including ragtime, Piedmont blues, spirituals, southern traditional music, string band music, fife and drum music, and jug-band music. He began his career as a performer in the Arizona music scene, where he produced 25 albums for singer-songwriters and slam poets in Pheonix. In 2005, Flemons co-found the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an African-American string band that won a Grammy for its 2010 album Genuine Negro Jig. Today, he tours throughout the United States and internationally as “The American Songster. In February 2016, Dom performed at Carnegie Hall for a Tribute to LeadBelly. In September 2016, Dom performed at the opening ceremonies for the National Musuem of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Dom has been touring internationally and has released his latest album called “Ever Popular Favourites” with British Guitar player, Martin Simpson. The album was released on Fledg’ling recordings in October 2016. Dom’s newest album to be released through Smithsonian Folkways will be celebrating the stories and songs of the black cowboys. Dom has released two instructional DVDs through Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop. Dom has a new podcast called American Songster Radio and it is in conjunction with WUNC North Carolina Public Radio.

Raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Dom’s involvement with music began by playing percussion in his high school band. After picking up the guitar and harmonica as a teenager, he began to play in local coffee houses and became a regular performer on the Arizona folk music scene. Dom wrote his own songs and produced 25 albums of singer-songwriters and slam poets in the Phoenix area, including six albums of his own, during this time. He took a brief break from playing music in order to pursue slam poetry (he majored in English at Northern Arizona University) and performed in two national poetry slams in 2002 and 2003. Aside from exploring slam poetry, he spent his early adulthood listening to records and discovering a love of folk music, blues, jazz, jug band music, country music and ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll. Dom became interested in folk musicians such as Phil Ochs, Dave Van Ronk, and Mike Seeger, as well as musicians such as Mississippi John Hurt, Howlin’ Wolf, Hank Williams, Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins. After stepping away from the slam poetry scene, he rekindled his interest in music, this time focusing on the old-time blues music of the pre-WWII era.

A multi-instrumentalist, Dom plays banjo, guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass drum, snare drum, and quills, in addition to singing. He says that he incorporates his background in percussion to his banjo playing. Dom’s banjo repertoire includes not only clawhammer but also tenor and three-finger styles of playing. He first picked up the instrument when he borrowed a five-string banjo from a friend who had removed the instrument’s fifth string. As a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an African-American string band, Dom was able to explore his interest in bringing traditional music to new audiences. The band won a GRAMMY for its 2011 album Genuine Negro Jig and was nominated for its most recent album, Leaving Eden, in 2012.

Dom says he would like to use the traditional forms of music he has heard and immersed himself in over the years to create new soundscapes that generate interest in old-time folk music. Focusing very much on creating music that is rooted in history but taking a contemporary approach, Dom hopes to reexamine what traditional music can become.

In July 2014, Dom released his third solo record with Music Maker Relief Foundation and his first since leaving the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Prospect Hill finds Flemons digging deeply into ragtime, Piedmont blues, spirituals, southern folk music, string band music, jug-band music, fife and drum music, and ballads idioms with showmanship and humor, reinterpreting the music to suit 21st-century audiences. He was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and his new album has received praise from The Boston Globe, Paste Magazine, Living Blues Magazine, and more.
Mike Oberst (of The Tillers)
Mike Oberst (of The Tillers)
Mike Oberst is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, musician, and songwriter best known as a co-founder of the Cincinnati, Ohio string band, The Tillers.

Mike was born and raised in the Sayler Park neighborhood of Cincinnati, a stone’s throw from the historic US Route 50 as it winds down the banks of the Ohio River. He was introduced to music at a very early age, starting Suzuki piano lessons at the age of four. At the age of 13, Mike’s father showed him some chords on the guitar, and within a year, he began forming punk rock bands with his friends. Over the next decade, Mike’s bands “Disarm” and later, “The Resurgence”, became fixtures on the local punk scene.

Mike’s interest in traditional music began with his membership in the Cincinnati Caledonian Bagpipe and Drum Corps from the ages of 17 to 22. At age 23, Mike became a part of “The Blue Rock Boys”, an Irish Traditional Folk band, which gave Mike his first taste of the life of a touring musician.

When The Blue Rock Boys went on hiatus in 2007, Mike began performing solo shows around town. During this time, he became consumed with a love of clawhammer-style banjo playing and an interest in American folk music in the vein of Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, and other Depression-era performers. He soon chanced upon a like-minded musical compatriot in the form of guitarist Sean Geil, with whom Mike formed the band “The Tillers”.

The Tillers’ rise to prominence in the local and regional folk scene was a rapid one, bolstered by a stroke of good fortune in the summer of 2009, when The Tillers’ recording of Mike’s song “There is a Road (Route 50)” was featured on veteran NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw’s USA Network television documentary on the history and significance of US Route 50.

The Tillers maintained a relentless touring, performing, and recording schedule over the next three years, releasing three more albums, becoming a staple at folk festivals throughout the country, and sharing the stage with luminaries and heroes such as Doc Watson, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Iris DeMent, Jerry Douglas and many more.

In 2011, Mike released his first solo album, “Mike Oberst and His Five-String Banjo”, which featured collaborations with a number of Mike’s musician friends from Cincinnati and beyond.

Also that year, Mike was the driving force behind “To Sing with You Once More”, a benefit concert to raise money and awareness to fight multiple myeloma cancer, the disease which claimed both Mike’s mother Lori and one of his musical heroes, Mike Seeger. The concert, which featured rare appearances by folk giants like John Cohen and Tracy Schwarz, was a rousing success.

Mike continues to play and tour, both solo and with The Tillers. He was recently bestowed with the Ohio Arts Council Traditional Arts Apprenticeship for clawhammer banjo in 2011-12, and again in 2013-14. He also teaches clawhammer banjo lessons from his home to a number of students both locally and regionally.

Mike’s appreciation and gratitude to the tradition of Field Recording for its preservation of rapidly-disappearing musical styles and traditions has led him to attempt some of his own. In 2016 he produced and co-recorded an album of original music by North Carolina songwriter Jean Dowell. He is currently in the early stages of recording and compiling the music of legendary Kentucky fiddler Tommy Taylor.

Mike is also interested in traditional American folk art, history and ways of life, and methods of sustainable city living. He enjoys gardening, farming, and raising chickens at his home.
Venue Information:
The Southgate House Revival-Revival Room
111 East 6th Street
Newport, KY, 41071
http://www.southgatehouse.com/