An American Songster Enchants

The weather was not perfect (rain was threatening), but the setting was. A large crowd gathered in the Museum of Fine Arts‘ courtyard to see Dom Flemons perform for the first concert of the 2014 Concerts in the Courtyard series.

Dom Flemons

Dom Flemons

Dom defines songster as someone who plays and sings, and that certainly describes him. He does not describe himself as a musicologist, yet he is extremely knowledgeable about the history of American and African-American roots music; he obviously enjoys educating his audiences because he does it quite well.

Dom

Dom

Dom started the set by performing a number of songs alone, switching between banjo (which is the instrument I generally associate with him) and guitar; he added harmonica and quills as well.

Dom on guitar and quills

Dom on guitar and quills

He plays both songs he has written as well as songs written by well-known and not so well-known songsters from the past (Sonny Boy Williamson and Henry Thomas are some of the better-known songsters, Gus Cannon one of the lesser-known ones).

Dom

Dom

A new album is being released toward the end of this month, but Dom treated us to a preview of a number of songs from ‘Prospect Hill’. One of those songs is ‘Hot Chicken’, written about the hot chicken joints in East Nashville, Tennessee. I’m now excited to try some!

Dom

Dom

After his solo numbers, he brought Ben Hunter to the stage to play some fiddle with him on one song. After that, he brought guitarist/banjo player Joe Seamons on stage to complete the trio.

Ben Hunter

Ben Hunter

Joe Seamons

Joe Seamons

Ben and Joe are quite talented and provided wonderful support for Dom. During one of the encore (I believe) songs, Dom stopped playing and told us Ben wasn’t fiddling fast enough; when they restarted, Ben impressed me with his speed. He was fun to watch!

Ben

Ben

I was sitting close to the stage so I was able to truly feel Dom’s expressiveness. I think I captured some of that in my photographs.

Dom

Dom

Joe told us that Dom travels with some unusual banjos, including the largest banjo I have ever seen. It seemed to have a deeper pitch than the other banjos and I thoroughly enjoyed its sound.

Dom with the big banjo

Dom with the big banjo

During the encore, we were finally treated to Dom playing the bones; I have seen him play them in the past and it’s certainly the most unusual instrument I’ve seen him play.

Don with the bones

Dom with the bones

Opening the show was Laney Jones & The Lively Spirits (only two-thirds of the Lively Spirits, however); Laney plays old-timey music as well as bluegrass, mostly songs she has written.

Laney Jones

Laney Jones

Laney is a witty songwriter, as evidenced in ‘Black Coffee’ and ‘I Am A Zombie’, two of the songs on her setlist for this show.

Jacy, Laney and Lars

Jacy Anderson, Laney and Lars Thorson

Supporting her for this show were fellow Berklee students Jacy Anderson on guitar and Lars Thorson on fiddle and mandolin.

Laney

Laney

Lars

Lars

Jacy

Jacy

The rain held off until a couple of minutes before the museum closed; the weather goddesses were certainly on our side!

Anyone who is interested in American music history and/or concerts by excellent musicians should see Dom (as well as Laney). I wouldn’t steer you wrong, would I?

 

About suze72

I've loved the arts all my life... I go to a lot of concerts, take lots of photos and want to share them. Every once in a while I do something other than a concert, too. The Boston area is full of opportunities to indulge my passion - I'd like to help make it yours too!

Posted on July 3, 2014, in concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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