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New music for you: Dom Flemons plays "Charmin' Betsy" at Pickathon's Pumphouse

Dom Flemons
Dom Flemons
(Photo: Anthony Pidgeon)

Once a month (or so), I'm bringing you an episode of the Pickathon Pumphouse Series, filmed in the tiny Pumphouse studio on the grounds of the Pickathon music festival in Happy Valley, Oregon, by Live & Breathing. For more on the festival and the series, see this post.

The Pickathon 2016 (August 5 to 7) final schedule has been announced. You can buy tickets here.

pickathon pumphouse series

Today's episode brings a performance from Dom Flemons, a purveyor of old-timey (pre-WWII) folk music rooted in African-American idioms.

Well, "folk music" may not do it justice; Flemons’s music ranges over spirituals, blues, jug band music, string band music, murder ballads — just about anything rooted in early 20th-century black culture.

Some of y’all may remember Flemons as the founder of the band the Carolina Chocolate Drops, which released six albums between 2006 and 2012, one of which, 2010’s Genuine Negro Jig, won a Grammy. Flemons went solo in 2013.

His discography is insane — he’s led, played, guested on, or produced more than a dozen albums over the years. His most recent solo work, released last year, is an EP called What Got Over, which is itself composed of extra songs and alternate versions leftover from the making of 2014 LP Prospect Hill (both released on Music Maker Recordings).

Here he is (playing the quills!) covering an old number called "Charmin’ Betsy," originally by Henry Thomas: