Recap: Dom Flemons Live at Bessie Smith Hall (with full video)

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and folk instrumentalist Dom Flemons performed a free show at the Bessie Smith Performance Hall last Thursday.

Flemons showcased a handful of traditional folk instruments, many of which the audience likely saw being played for the first time. His opening song was played with the “rhythm bones”, and he used “quills” on the second tune.

He walked the crowd through the fascinating history behind some of the songs he performed. He played “Steel Pony Blues,” a song that tells the story of Nat Love, a Davidson County man born into slavery but later became one of the most famous cowboys in the West.

Flemons spoke about Jack Thorpe, a New York City native who made his way West in the late 1800s, collecting songs heard at cow camps, chuck wagons, and saloons. Flemons played a song written by Thorpe called “Little Joe the Wrangler.”

See Dom Flemon’s full performance

Notable moments: Rhythm bones at 5:02, Quills at 8:55, Traditional Piedmont-style guitar picking at 15:00, Bob Dylan cover “I Guess I’m Doing Fine” at 31:30, He’s a Lone Ranger at 1:04:00

The concert was one of the many interesting and informative events organized by Bessie Smith Cultural Center for Black History Month. This music event was part of the Folk Art & Music Night, sponsored by EPB, Tennessee Arts Commission and the City of Chattanooga.