Dom Flemmons: Prospect Hill
Fat Possum Records, 2014.
Dom Flemons might not be a newbie on the folk circuit, but his newest album is something we haven’t heard from him much in the past- his own song writing. I’ve happily followed the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the band that Flemons is probably most famous for helping to found, since I saw them at the HockHocking Festival in Nelsonville, Ohio back in 2006. As a family, we’ve easily seen Carolina Chocolate Drops perform more than a handful of times, and they’ve always put on a good show. Seeing Flemons grow from a baby-faced musician that could play any of a number of instruments in one single set and could bring a folk flair to Blu Cantrell (no small feat, that) into a mature musician on his own album writing original songs is definitely satisfying.
Prospect Hill features a number of other artists, but Flemons holds attention and center stage throughout the album, and is really the driving vision behind this project. For the history buffs out there, one of Flemons charms has always been his ability to connect traditional music and its story to the performance, often talking in between songs much like the old greats in the folk genre. In that vein, Prospect Hill is very different from a live performance with Dom, and I miss that discussion and education, but he’s done a few interviews that help to fill that gap.
The music draws from ragtime, blues, and new original work by Flemons. The instrumentation is varied and authentic, with instruments that are era-appropriate for the style of song. All of the pieces are done musically and with an unmatched technical skill, while maintaining a creative flow and passion that rings through on the album. This new solo piece is a joy to hear and a pleasure to truly pay attention to and analyze.
Tracks: Til’ the Seas Run Dry, Polly Put the Kettle On, But They Got it Fixed Right On, Have I Stayed Away Too Long?, Georgia Drumbeat, I Can’t Do it Anymore, Sonoran Church Two-Step, Too Long I’ve Been Gone, Marching Up to Prospect Hill, It’s a Good Thing, Grotto Beat, Hot Chicken, San Francisco Baby, My Money Never Runs Out