Link to our Facebook
Link to our Instagram

Live Review: Dom Flemons

13 January 2014 | 2:48 pm | Lorin Reid

There are musicians who perform true to their recordings and then there are songsters like Dom Flemons who one-up the recording and give everything back.

The delightful storyteller and multi-instrumentalist from Phoenix played a collection of country and blues in true Southern tradition that he decorated with anecdotes, histories and origins, often laying his guitar flat and disappearing into a ramble, only to emerge with a bit of cheek or a laugh.
Wearing a chequered flanno with braces and (he proudly announced) an Akubra and armed with banjo and acoustic guitar, he started his set with Papa Charlie Jackson's Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine and got the audience on side early with light-hearted yet complex scatting.
It was his humour and his unusual techniques that impressed most — yodelling, jelly rolls, playing banjo with the sleeve of his forearm — his proficiency on the quills and instrument acrobatics, like spinning his guitar into the air over his head and somehow staying on beat when it returned to his arms. For Ol' Cindy Gal Flemons brought out his bones — a percussion instrument slotted between fingers in the tradition of the spoons but way cooler — and threaded them under his legs as he played for show. Add to the bones some blistering harmonica (the first instrument he ever learned) and you had one of the highlights of the show.
Flemons snapped his chair, so intense was the energy he brought to his foot-stomping as he re-enacted running away from the cops in Bye Bye Policeman and during There's A Brown-Skinned Girl Down The Road Somewhere (Flemons enjoys long descriptive titles, especially on instrumental songs) he spun the harmonica round and round while playing, coaxing howls from the crowd. Despite all the spectacle, his most hard-hitting number was a reflective ballad he wrote on a hotel notepad called Too Long I've Been Gone.
There are musicians who perform true to their recordings and then there are songsters like Dom Flemons who one-up the recording and give everything back.