Dom Flemons — my personal hit of the 2013 Illawarra Folk Festival

Image courtesy of Dom Flemons
Image courtesy of Dom Flemons

Dom Flemons — the real deal

I’m one who normally shies away from imported phrases and clichés — until that phrase or word or even that cliché is the most appropriate and resonant to unpack whatever notion or feeling or thing (a technical term, beg pardon) you want to get out there.

Case in point: I arrived at the Illawarra Folk Festival roughly 20 hours before I’d planned, on Thursday night. And when I surfaced on Friday morning, with one eye open, one eye closed, and a third eye tied behind my back for safe-keeping, about half a dozen people then independently proceeded to tell me, and of their own volition bailed me up, tied me down, roped me off, and press-ganged me on board the good ship Dom Flemons.

“Maaaaaate, you gots to see him!”

When I did indeed see him, I kid you not: I was spell-bound.

I was not alone by a long chalk.

The Miners Camp venue was full to over-flowing x 2, and everyone was spell-bound for the duration. When even many young children around the age of four or five even stopped their fidgeting and drawing with crayons for a song or two — well, that’s a fairly good barometer of the appeal of a performer.

Before that performance, and the packed out stage at Slacky Flat Bar the next day, I took just a few minutes of Dom’s time, high above the dog track in the grandstand on Friday morning, to have a chat.

I present that interview: live, uncut and un-fiddled with. No editing or anything.

The typed out wordification will be along later this week.

If you are only roughly within a quarter turn of the earth’s orbit away from anywhere Dom is playing on this tour, just get there.

Like I said: the real deal.

4 thoughts on “Dom Flemons — my personal hit of the 2013 Illawarra Folk Festival

  1. i’ve seen the carolina chocolate drops more than half a dozen times now, in the last 3 years. dom and rhiannon have an amazing stage presence and patter and dom is my favorite blues scholar. there’s nothin better than hearing where he learned a song and then discovering yet more great music. he’s a national treasure here in the states.

    • It’s a whole bunch of skills to learn and play/sing something either fastidiously or to re-interpret it. But to really unpack and explain its roots and to give a listening audience a sense and understanding of a work of art (includes song and music): that’s something else. Dom has that. Last time I was so spell-bound by explanations was last year when Billy Bragg did his Woody Guthrie 100 years tour.

  2. I love Dom’s phrase “the natural progression backwards.” If only it was indeed normative to reach back and forward simultaneously and thoughtfully! For a big US fan of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, it’s gratifying to see the ‘Drops’ music and philosophy getting spread around the globe.

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