Don Flemons of Carolina Chocolate Drops Kicks Off Hancock Shaker Village Roots Music Series

Dom Flemons (photo Tim Duffy)

(HANCOCK, Mass.) – Grammy Award-winning folk artist Dom Flemons, best known as a cofounder of Carolina Chocolate Drops, kicks off the new Shaker Barn Music series at Hancock Shaker Village on Friday, June 16, at 7pm. Fierce-folk duo Long Journey from Williamstown will warm up the crowd for Flemons. Other performers in the series include folksinger Sarah Lee Guthrie (7/1), country-rockers Western Centuries (7/13), folk music duo Anna & Elizabeth (7/26), acclaimed banjoist Tony Trischka (8/19), and singer-songwriter Milton (9/23).

A musician, singer-songwriter, and slam poet, Flemons is a faounder of the storied Carolina Chocolate Drops, an African-American string band that won a Grammy for its 2010 album “Genuine Negro Jig.”  Today, Flemons tours throughout the U.S. and internationally as “The American Songster,” mixing traditional music forms with a contemporary approach to create new sounds. Flemons draws from a wide range of styles, including ragtime, Piedmont blues, spirituals, Southern traditional, string band, fife and drum, and jug band music. “Onstage he’s an absolute blast, charming and funny, full of energy,” wrote No Depression Magazine.

In 2016, Flemons performed at Carnegie Hall as part of a Lead Belly tribute, and also at the opening ceremonies for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.  In 2016, he also paired with legendary British guitarist Martin Simpson on the album “Selection of Ever Popular Favourites.”  His newest album, which will be released through Smithsonian Folkways, celebrates the stories and songs of black cowboys, who played an important role in the American West. Flemons has a podcast called American Songsters Radio in conjunction with North Carolina Public Radio.

A Phoenix native, Flemons’ involvement with music began by playing percussion in his high school band. After picking up the guitar and harmonica, he began to play coffeehouses and became a regular on the Arizona folk music scene. During that period Flemons wrote his own songs and produced 25 albums of singer-songwriters and slam poets, including six albums of his own.

Dom Flemons (photo Tim Duffy)

A multi-instrumentalist, Flemons plays banjo, guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass drum, snare drum, and quills, in addition to singing. His banjo repertoire includes not only clawhammer but also tenor and three-finger styles of playing. As a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, he was able to explore his interest in bringing traditional music to new audiences.

“Flemons has been a torchbearer in contemporary American roots music,” wrote the Boston Globe, “blending his love of old-time styles with a scholarly interest in their history.”

Opening for Flemons on June 16 is Long Journey, a duo of Amrita Lash and Karl Mullen, whose harmonies are as sweet and fierce as bourbon on a summer night. Hailing from Williamstown, Long Journey coined the term “fierce folk” to describe their powerful sound. The textured and soaring harmonies of Mullen and Lash take original and traditional songs exploring love, yearning, life, death, and everything in between to unexpected places. Their debut album was released in 2016 and a second album is scheduled for release in September.

Dom Flemons is the first performer in Hancock Shaker Village’s Shaker Barn Music series, dedicated to American roots music. The series continues a long tradition of music by the Shakers, whose musical roots run deep, with a musical heritage that led to the creation of more than 10,000 American folk songs. Exploring the links between old and new, tradition and innovation, and the connection of community, the series is being curated by Karl Mullen who, after having run legendary music venues for 30+ years including World Cafe Live in Philadelphia and Club Cafe, Rosebud, and Metropol in Pittsburgh, focuses here on bringing emerging and established talent to this region. Most of the performances will open with local artists.

the 1910 barn at Hancock Shaker Village

“The moment I saw the 1910 Barn I knew it was a magical place for roots music and I jumped at the opportunity to curate it,” noted Mullen. “This year we plant the seeds: six amazing artists – musicians who could perform on any stage – will inaugurate this special, intimate setting.  Individually, each artist will knock your socks off.  Taken as a whole, the series is bound to be a highlight of the summer.”

All performances in the Shaker Barn Music series take place in the hayloft of the 1910 Barn, which heretofore has seen … cows and hay. Doors and the Barn Bar open at 6pm. Seeds Market Cafe at Hancock Shaker Village is open for dinner before each show. Located steps from the heirloom vegetable and herb gardens, Seeds Market Cafe’s fresh-picked menu items celebrate Shaker-inspired, neighborhood-sourced food, prepared by regional farm-to-table chef Brian Alberg. Visitors can also grab a picnic dinner at Seeds and enjoy it on the grounds, enjoying the spirit and nature of the Shaker’s heritage.


Shaker Barn Music summer series

Friday, June 16

Doors open 7PM/Show 8PM

Shaker Barn Music: Dom Flemons

(Opening act: Long Journey)


Sarah Lee Guthrie

Saturday, July 1

Doors open 7PM/Show 8PM

Shaker Barn Music: Sarah Lee Guthrie

(Opening act: Eliza Edens)


Thursday, July 13

Doors open 6PM/Show 7PM

Shaker Barn Music: Western Centuries

(Opening act: Wes Buckley)


Wednesday, July 26

Doors open 6PM/Show 7PM

Shaker Barn Music: An Evening with Anna & Elizabeth


Tony Trischka

Saturday, August 19

Doors open 6PM/Show 7PM

Shaker Barn Music: Tony Trischka


Saturday, September 23

Doors open 6PM/Show 7PM

Shaker Barn Music: Milton


WHERE: 1910 Barn, Hancock Shaker Village


Call 413.443.0188 x115 or visit Shaker Barn Music



Home to the Shakers for more than 220 years, Hancock Shaker Village is now an outdoor history museum dedicated to preserving the Shaker legacy and making that story relevant and illuminating for today’s visitors. Situated on 750 acres of picturesque farm, field, and woodland in the bucolic Berkshires of Massachusetts, the Village consists of 20 historic buildings, a working farm and heirloom gardens, and a premier collection of 22,000 authentic Shaker artifacts.

1843 W Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201      413.443.0188






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