TLC #42: Dom Flemons kicks off Barn Music Series at Hancock Shaker Village


Concert with Dom Flemons in the 1910 Barn kicks off Berkshire season of American roots music at Hancock Shaker Village

Graphic including Dom Flemons (left); photo courtesy the artist. Karl Mullen (right)l; photo by Jason Velázquez.
Graphic including Dom Flemons (left); photo courtesy the artist. Karl Mullen (right)l; photo by Jason Velázquez.

(Hancock Shaker Village, official release)

HANCOCK, Mass.—When Grammy-award winning Dom Flemons kicks off Hancock Shaker Village’s new Shaker Barn Music series on June 16, he’s continuing 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.

A musician, singer-songwriter, and slam poet, Flemons is a founder 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 US and internationally as “The American Songster,” mixing traditional music forms with a contemporary approach to create new sounds.  Flemons mesmerizes audiences as he 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.

Shaker Barn Music: Dom Flemons

Friday, June 16; doors 7:00 p.m.
(Opening act: Long Journey)
1910 Barn, Hancock Shaker Village
1843 West Housatonic Street
Pittsfield, Mass.
Tickets $15 in advance/$20 day of show
Call 413.443.0188 x115, or order online

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, DC.  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.

Dom Flemons; photo courtesy the artist.
Dom Flemons; photo courtesy the artist.

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 coffee houses 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.  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.”

Karl Mullen and Amrita Lash are Long Journey; photo courtesy the artists.
Karl Mullen and Amrita Lash are Long Journey; photo courtesy the artists.

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, MA, 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 concert in Hancock Shaker Village’s Shaker Barn Music series, dedicated to American roots music.  Bringing an exciting roster of emerging and national musicians to the Berkshires, the Shaker Barn Music series will present national acts, giving audiences the opportunity to see gems like Dom Flemons, Tony Trischka, and others.  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.

Karl Mullen curates the Barn Music Series at the Hancock Shaker Village; photo/effects by Jason Velázquez.
Karl Mullen curates the Barn Music Series at the Hancock Shaker Village; photo/effects by Jason Velázquez.

“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.  The June 21 concert begins at 7pm. 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

Dom Flemons; with guest, Long Journey
Friday, June 16
Doors open 7:00 p.m. / Show 8:00 p.m.

Sarah Lee Guthrie; with guest, Eliza Edens
Saturday, July 1
Doors open 7:00 p.m. / Show 8:00 p.m.

Western Centuries; with guest, Wes Buckley)
Thursday, July 13
Doors open 6:00 p.m. / Show 7:00 p.m.

An Evening with Anna & Elizabeth
Wednesday, July 26
Doors open 6:00 p.m. / Show 7:00 p.m.
Shaker Barn Music:

Tony Trischka Territory
Saturday, August 19
Doors open 6PM/Show 7PM

Saturday, September 23
Doors open 6:00 p.m. / Show 7:00 p.m.

Where: 1910 Barn, Hancock Shaker Village
Tickets: $15 ADVANCE/$20 Day Of Show

Call 413.443.0188 x115 or order online

Shaker Barn Music Series Sponsored by Blue Q, Bright Ideas Brewing, Encore Audio Event Services, No Depression, Rural Intelligence 

About Hancock Village

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






Previous Story

TLC #41: The Hoping Machine, A very NAMA Memorial Day, Saving Olsen Farm

Next Story

TLC #43: Berkshires Celebrates Pride with first major Event

Latest from General


I don’t know if I’m a cat person or a dog person. Love them both. I’m