January 11, 2023—GRAMMY Award-winning musician and scholar Dom Flemons, also known as “The American Songster,” will release his anticipated new album, Traveling Wildfire, March 24 on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (pre-order here). In advance of the release, the new song, “Slow Dance With You,” is debuting today with an ATMOS mix. Listen/share HERE.
Produced by Ted Hutt (Old Crow Medicine Show, Lucero) and recorded at Los Angeles’ Kingsize Soundlabs, Traveling Wildfire is Flemons’ most personal album to-date as he refocuses on his songwriting—reflecting on his recent epiphanies and spiritual evolution as well as on the current social climate. Across these fifteen tracks—a collection of both originals and new renditions of traditional folk songs—Flemons gently conveys his purposeful message as he addresses fundamental themes of Black love, survival, legacy and growth, while a sonic atmosphere builds in intensity from a serene and grounded beginning.
In addition to Flemons (vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo, drums, percussion, electric bass, electric guitar, quills) and Hutt (guitar, electric bass), the record also features David Hidalgo (drums), Marc Orrell (pump organ, bells) and Matt Pynn (pedal steel) as well as special guest appearances by Sam Bush and James Fearnley.
In celebration of the release, Flemons will launch season four of “American Songster Radio Show” January 24 on 650 AM WSM in Nashville, TN, available worldwide via www.wsmradio.com. After completing season three in December with guests like Billy Strings, Mickey Guyton and Steve Martin, the new season will focus on the music and inspiration behind “The Making of Traveling Wildfire.”
Flemons will also tour through this spring with upcoming shows at Chicago’s Logan Art Center, Hollywood’s Troubadour, Phoenix’s Musical Instrument Museum, Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, New York’s Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, Cambridge’s Club Passim and two nights Washington, DC’s President Lincoln’s Cottage among others. See below for complete tour details.
Originally from Phoenix and now based in Chicago, Flemons is a widely celebrated songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, actor, slam poet, radio host and music historian. Throughout his esteemed career, he has received a Grammy Award, been nominated for two Emmy Awards, received an honorary doctorate from Northern Arizona University, won the 2020 U.S. Artists Fellowship Award for the Traditional Arts, served on the Board of Directors for the Steve Martin Banjo Prize, Folk Alliance International and the Music Maker Relief Foundation, and was elected as a Governor on the Board of Directors for the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Recording Academy.
A prolific member of the music community, Flemons has released five solo records to date, including 2018’s Grammy-nominated Dom Flemons Presents Black Cowboys, of which No Depression praised, “He lives and breathes his art. This is an audible extension of the heart and soul and wonders within, a desire to capture the life beat of the original arrangement and melodies of songs,” while PopMatters declared, “a remarkably enlightening presentation of a slice of culture all but whitewashed from our common knowledge.” Flemons also released four albums as part of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the Grammy Award-winning group he created with Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson in 2005. An avid collaborator, Flemons has worked with a wide variety of artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Tyler Childers, Steve Cropper, Fantastic Negrito, Old Crow Medicine Show, Billy Strings, Jerry Douglas, Valerie June, Vince Gill, Allison Russell, Taj Mahal and many more.