Roman Candle Presents Dom Flemons and J.D. Wilkes with guest Gwenifer Raymond
Friday 11th December, 7PM.
Roman Candle is ecstatic to welcome Dom Flemons and J.D. Wilkes (Legendary Shack Shakers) with special guest Gwenifer Raymond to St Mary's Creative Space, Chester.
Friday 11th December, 7PM. Tickets £15 advance from See Tickets.
GRAMMY Award Winner, Two-Time EMMY Nominee, 2020 United States Artists Fellow- Dom Flemons is originally from Phoenix, Arizona and currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife Vania Kinard and their daughter Cheyanne Love. He has branded the moniker “The American Songster” since his repertoire of music covers over 100 years of early American popular music. Flemons is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, actor, music scholar, historian, and record collector. He is considered an expert player on the banjo, guitar, harmonica, jug, percussion, quills, fife and rhythm bones. Flemons was selected for the prestigious 2020 United States Artists Fellowship Award for the Traditional Arts category which was generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He currently serves as a Governor on the Board of Directors for the Washington, D.C Chapter of the Recording Academy.
On February 28, 2020, Dom Flemons will release his third solo album titled Prospect Hill: “The American Songster Omnibus on Omnivore Recordings. The two CD albums feature three parts: the original Prospect Hill album, the 2015 EP What Got Over, and The Drum Major Instinct which includes twelve previously unissued instrumental tracks.
In 2019, Flemons was chosen to be a “Spotlight Artist” at the Soundtrack of America event curated by the World Renowned Quincy Jones and EMMY Award Winning Director Steve McQueen. He was featured in the Bank of America and Ken Burns ‘Country Music’ commercial that airs regularly on PBS. Also, Flemons had a successful international solo tour in Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, and served as an U.S representative at the YodelFest in Munich, Germany.
In 2018, Flemons released a solo album titled “Dom Flemons Presents Black Cowboys” on GRAMMY Award-winning record label Smithsonian Folkways and received a GRAMMY Nomination for “Best Folk Album” at the 61st GRAMMY Awards. This recording is part of the African American Legacy Recordings series, co-produced with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
The “Black Cowboys” album peaked at #4 on the BILLBOARD Bluegrass Charts and Flemons has been nominated for “2018 Artist of The Year” at the International Folk Music Awards, “Best Acoustic Album” at the 2019 Blues Music Awards, “Best Folk Album” at the 2019 Liberia Awards, won a 2019 Wammie Awards for “Best Folk Album”, won a 2019 Living Blues Award for “New Recordings/ Traditional & Acoustic album”, and received the ASCAP Foundation Paul Williams “Loved the Liner Notes” Award.
In 2018, he had his major solo debut on the Grand Ole Opry, on a night with Carrie Underwood and Old Crow Medicine Show, and has been included in the American Currents Class of 2018 exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame Exhibit alongside Reba McEntire, Jeannie Seely, Chris Stapleton, Molly Tuttle, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Kane Brown, Dan Auerbach, Dan + Shay, John Prine and more.
Flemons was nominated for TWO EMMY’s at the 2018 National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Mid-America Awards for PBS Episode: Songcraft Presents Dom Flemons and for the co-written song “Good Old Days” with Songwriter Ben Arthur.
He was the first Artist-in-Residence at the “Making American Music Internship Program” at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in the summer of 2018. In 2017, Flemons served as the only U.S. performer at the Rainforest Music Festival in Kuching, Malaysia. He was featured on David Holt’s State of Music on PBS and performed as bluesman Joe Hill Louis on CMT’s original television show “Sun Records”. In 2016, Flemons released a DUO album with British musician Martin Simpson titled “Ever Popular Favourites” on Fledg’ling Records. He launched a podcast, American Songster Radio, with two seasons on WUNC Public Radio and filmed two instructional DVD’s through Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop.
In 2007, Flemons had an acting role as a Juke Joint Musician in and recorded songs for the Golden Globe nominated, Oprah Winfrey executive produced, Denzel Washington directed feature film The Great Debaters, starring Denzel and Forest Whitaker.
In 2005, Flemons co-founded the Carolina Chocolate Drops who won a GRAMMY for “Best Traditional Folk Album” in 2010 and were nominated for “Best Folk Album” in 2012. He left the group to pursue his solo career in 2014. In 2016 the Carolina Chocolate Drops were inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame and are featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Flemons has archived the legacy of the CCD’s in his personal collection at the Southern Folklife Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC.
JD Wilkes is an American musician, visual artist, author, filmmaker and self-proclaimed "southern surrealist". He is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist (notably on harmonica and banjo), having recorded with such artists as Merle Haggard, John Carter Cash, Mike Patton, and Hank Williams III. Wilkes’ latest solo album Cattle in the Cane (Arkam Records, January 2015) includes his own renditions of traditional tunes (mostly old-time mountain music), with performances by elder Kentucky fiddler Charlie Stamper (the brother of Art Stamper) on many of the tracks. In the last two years, Wilkes has continued to develop his solo project, having toured with Charlie Parr and The Tillers, as well as performing at the 2015 Winnipeg Folk Festival.
Wilkes is perhaps best known as the founder of the Legendary Shack Shakers, a Southern Gothic rock and blues band formed in the mid 90s. Fans of his work with Legendary Shack Shakers include Stephen King, Robert Plant and former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra. Rolling Stone named Wilkes as the “best frontman” at the 2015 Americana Music Association Festival for his performance with the band. Regarding the group’s "southern gothic" lyricism, Billboard Magazine said "[Wilkes writes] mind-blowing lyrics rife with Biblical references and ruminations of life, death, sin and redemption.” Legendary Shack Shakers have toured with the likes of Robert Plant and The Black Keys, among others. Their music has been featured in HBO’s True Blood series, and in a long-running Geico commercial.
JD Wilkes has been compared to iconoclasts like David Byrne, Iggy Pop, or Jerry Lee Lewis, and with his small, wiry frame and intense, incandescent performances, it’s not hard to see why. But while he plays the carnival barker onstage, he’s a dedicated lifelong student of true Southern culture. Master banjo player Dom Flemons said, “JD is a real old-Kentucky banjo player and he can take that to the bank! I gotta watch out next time I see his banjo.” A resident of Paducah, Kentucky, Wilkes is a Kentucky Colonel, an honorable title bestowed by the state's Governor upon those with a connection to, or who are famous residents of the state of Kentucky. In 2015, Wilkes was featured on the BBC original series Songs of the South, in an episode focusing on the musical history of Tennessee and Kentucky.
Aside from his prolific career in music, Wilkes is also a published writer, having recently authored the book Barn Dances and Jamborees Across Kentucky, an exploration of his state’s social music and dance history based on extensive fieldwork and research. A true Southern Renaissance man, Wilkes is also an accomplished visual artist (specializing in comics, sideshow banners and book illustrations) as well as a documentary filmmaker (his documentary Seven Signs explores “music, myths, and the American South” and was screened at the UK’s prestigious Raindance Film Festival).
Gwenifer Raymond is a Welsh multi-instrumentalist, originally from Cardiff but now residing in Brighton, England. Gwenifer began playing guitar at the age of eight shortly after having been first exposed to punk and grunge. After years of playing around the Welsh valleys in various punk outfits she began listening more to pre-war blues musicians as well as Appalachian folk players, eventually leading into the guitar players of the American Primitive genre. She has since been playing her own moody and often-times manic original American Primitive styled compositions on guitar and banjo around the UK and the US.