Dom Flemons – Traveling Wildfire (ENG review)

Smithsonian Folkways – available March 24th 2023
Dom Flemons – Traveling Wildfire

With patience we awaited news from the Smithsonian Folkways team, a wait that was rewarded with this gem of American culture. Regarding the project, Flemons states: “Traveling Wildfire is not only a statement of my personal travel experiences, but also a metaphor for renaissance in the wake of destruction. It reminded me that the album is, in its own way, a statement about emerging from the depths of uncertainty to find new relevance in this unprecedented moment in modern history. At the same time, the image of the traveling wildfire reminded me of how music and stories can travel from generation to generation, bringing important lessons from the past into the present and future.”
Produced by Ted Hutt (Old Crow Medicine Show, Lucero) and recorded at Kingsize Soundlabs in Los Angeles, Traveling Wildfire is Flemons’ most personal album to date, as he focuses on writing his own songs, reflecting on his spiritual evolution, as well as the current social climate. Through these fifteen tracks – a collection of originals and new interpretations of traditional folk songs – Flemons gently conveys his message by addressing fundamental themes of black love, survival, legacy, and growth, while a sonic atmosphere intensifies from a serene and grounded beginning. And it’s hard to distinguish between old and new songs as Dom Flemons seems haunted by the past of the “black cowboys”, whose storytelling tradition he carries on through songs, making this album totally timeless. Originally from Phoenix and now based in Chicago, Flemons is a widely recognized songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, actor, slam poet, radio host, and music historian. Throughout his career, he has received a Grammy Award, been nominated for two Emmy Awards, received an honorary doctorate from Northern Arizona University, won the 2020 U.S. Artists Fellowship Award for the Traditional Arts, served on the board of the Steve Martin Banjo Prize, Folk Alliance International, and the Music Maker Relief Foundation, and was elected to the board of governors of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Recording Academy.
In his own way and with his particular talent, Dom Flemons also provides excellent support for the preservation of black American memory, no doubt motivated by his role as a music historian. Dom Flemons always takes great care with his projects, and this one is no exception. We can only be seduced by this new project, as everyone will find a title that speaks to them, something that appeals to our humanity and artistic sense.
The teams at Paris-Move and Bayou Blue Radio classify this album in the category of “must-haves.”

Thierry Docmac
Correspondent in USA
Bayou Blue News – Bayou Blue Radio – Paris-Move

PARIS-MOVE, March 9th 2023


Order it HERE (CD/ digital and vinyl) or HERE