Tonto had the Lone Ranger. Roy had Dale. Batman has Robin. What did they have ? Friends, life would be impossible without them.
Dom Flemons, The American Songster may not be a superhero to some, but I like to call him my friend. Flemons’ life is about to change. He announced today (February 14, 2018) the release of an 18 track CD project.
Tom Ketchum, Bill Pickett, Nat Love, and John Ware are just a few of the famous black cowboy names that we all remember. In fact, there is an astonishing 1 of 4 (about 25%) of the cowboy settlers in the west that were black. These cowboys worked alongside white cowboys and the Mexican vaccaro, but many times they have been left in the dust. With February being celebrated as Black History month, Flemons’ release of Black Cowboys is perfectly timed.
Dom has been out on tour, but has not slowed down his studio production at all. In the recent past, Flemons was forefront at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, held in Elko, NV, where he hosted a bones workshop for fellow enthusiasts of all ages. While in Nevada, Flemons performed at The Roots of the Cowboy Session. Being a Grammy award winning musician, singer-songwriter, and slam poet who got his start playing local coffee houses, Dom Flemons maintains the ability to continue to be a songwriter who appeals to contemporary audience.
On Black Cowboys, he continues to wow, and draw from a variety of styles of music that incorporates a history of black culture, including the African American view on the Old West. When one listens to Goodbye Old Paint and Home on the Range, stories of African American cowboys can be heard. On this newest CD you will find narratives that tell stories of how the black experience played a significant role in the western cowboy life. Flemons has pulled out all the stops in this release, while incorporating field hollers, the East Texas blues, bluegrass, the talents of the Tennessee Chocolate Drops, and a tribute to John Henry as well as many other noticeable titles.
Black Cowboys is an outstanding overview of different facets of black history. Smithsonian Folkways and Dom have worked diligently for its release. Hours of research have been put into the narratives, and the project is packaged with a 42 page booklet of these stories.
When asked if there was a documentary in the works, Dom brought the memory of The Bronze Buckaroo, with its all black cast and a story of black singing cowboys in 1939. Dom hopes to bring to the world a multi-faceted release, a comprehensive rundown of the black cowboy and their life. You can purchase this CD on March 23rd at www.theamericansongster.com or www.si.edu. Pre-orders are available now.
By now, you are probably wondering about the double release?
Dom and his wife, Vania Kinard, will bring a new addition into their lives on February 17. They will be welcoming their first child, Cheyanne, who I am certain will have a banjo, bones, and a ukelele somewhere in her life almost immediately. Flemons states “We are gearing up for a double release.”
Congratulations Dom! On your new CD and the birth of Cheyenne.