American Songster Radio

American Songster Radio

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Dom Flemons presents new ways of listening to old music.
What Else Does the Banjo Sound Like? American Songster Radio Episode 16
Nov 19 • 16 min
Young banjo players Jerron Paxton and Kaia Kater hail from places that are pretty far removed from the American South. But as they learned their instruments and connected with banjo mentors, they found old-time music well beyond its reputed home region.…
“Making Hot Chicken”: American Songster Radio Episode 15
Sep 18 • 10 min
When Dom Flemons visited a legendary fried chicken joint in Nashville, inspiration struck him like a wave of cayenne heat:
More Tunes And Tales From Vegas: American Songster Radio Episode 14
Aug 13 • 11 min
When Dom Flemons first came across the story of African American songster Gus Cannon, one fact took him by surprise. “[Gus Cannon] was a blackface performer, but he was a black man,” Flemons says, recalling his initial reaction. “How can this be? That you…
Dom Combines Fife And Drum Music With Early Hip Hop - American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 13
Jul 6 • 10 min
When Dom Flemons was in the studio making his album Prospect Hill , the engineer made a casual comment that pushed the material in an unexpected direction. “Maybe you should sell some of those beats to a hip-hop artist!” the engineer quipped.
Laurent Dubois: American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 12
May 15 • 18 min
In 2005, Laurent Dubois had an encounter that would spark his transformation from a historian with a banjo to a historian of the banjo. It was an unusual example of the instrument that began to deepen his curiosity—a Haitian artifact that had languished…
Jerron Paxton In Conversation And In Concert: American Songster Radio Episode 11
Apr 20 • 29 min
The young folk musician Jerron Paxton defies easy categorization. He grew up in a west coast metropolis, but his family and community adhered to customs from the rural south. And, like a number of people in Los Angeles with Louisiana roots, he inherited a…
Kaia Kater In Conversation And In Concert: American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 10
Mar 6 • 32 min
The birth of the Carolina Chocolate Drops at the 2005 Black Banjo Gathering at Appalachian State University has become the stuff of folk music legend. “Of course it was an academic event,” Dom Flemons notes of the conference, “but it was also based on the…
Cowboy Songs: American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 9
Feb 21 • 54 min
What makes a song a folk song, anyway? One familiar answer is that a folk song is a song without an author. Folk song scholars even have a name for the theory that some songs emerge without any one person composing them. They call it “communal creation.”
Martin Simpson: American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 8
Jan 9 • 23 min
On Episode 8 of American Songster Radio, host Dom Flemons speaks with his recent musical collaborator, the legendary English guitarist Martin Simpson. Dom Flemons and Martin Simpson have worked together since 2014, when the pair received a joint…
Jake Fussell: American Songster Podcast Radio Episode 7
Dec 6, 2016 • 21 min
Jake Fussell didn’t have to look far for musical inspiration in his home state of Georgia. Even before he picked up a guitar, he was surrounded by some of the region’s most storied performers and committed documentarians. Fussell grew up in the town of…
The Life And Adventures Of Folklorist Bill Ferris: American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 6
Nov 1, 2016 • 21 min
Meet Bill Ferris On the first Sunday of every month, Bill Ferris attended an African-American church on the farm where he grew up. Over time Ferris, a white child, became a routine presence at the church. He especially loved participating in the church’s…
Cylinder Sessions: American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 5
Oct 3, 2016 • 17 min
While still a very young person, Martin Fisher fell in love with a very old machine. It was Christmas in Tennessee, and Martin’s parents kept pestering him to submit his list. Martin remembers that his quirky, nine-year-old self wasn’t all that interested…
Valerie June: American Songster Radio Episode 4
Sep 1, 2016 • 22 min
Before Valerie June had ever written a song of her own, she was busy putting up show posters for artists like Bobby Womack and Prince. You might say June was born into the music business. “My dad had a promotion company called Music Makers Production, and…
Talking With Taj Mahal: American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 3
Aug 1, 2016 • 20 min
In episode 3 of the podcast series American Songster Radio , host Dom Flemons calls on blues legend Taj Mahal for a conversation about their mutual love of the banjo and its complicated history. “All the pictures and caricatures of those black-faced…
3 Songs With Bill Ferris: American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 2
Jul 4, 2016 • 37 min
Bill Ferris is an author and scholar and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Currently, he’s Senior Associate Director of the Center for the Study of the American South , professor of history, and adjunct professor in the…
Ketch Secor: American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 1
Jul 4, 2016 • 19 min
American Songster Radio is a monthly look at the roots of American Popular music. It’s hosted by world renowned musician and folklorist Dom Flemons who playfully refers to himself as The American Songster. For Episode 1 Dom calls on Ketch Secor of Old…
Meet Dom Flemons: American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 0
Jul 4, 2016 • 14 min
Welcome to WUNC’s new podcast called American Songster Radio. Every month host Dom Flemons , a.k.a. The American Songster, will present a new take on traditional music. Dom, a co-founder of the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, will be…