Dom Flemons’ Prospect Hill

12th April 2016

Title: Prospect Hill

Label: Music Maker

Ah, a good time can be had with our Dom and that’s no lie. Ostensibly seen as a folk artist, the first track on this finger picking banjo artist’s new album, ’Til the Seas Run Dry, takes you back to the early articulations of syncopated and trad jazz. There’s a wholly nostalgic air about Flemons delivery that – whisper it quietly – sounds a little like Kenny Ball in style. I know, shocker, but it’s fun nevertheless.

Then we get to a more country blues take on Polly Put The Kettle On, a real humdinger of a barn dancer with a slurpy fiddle middle eight accompanied by a touch of the harmonica while Flemon finishes his bowl of grits and rides the melody to the end.

After that we are in high tempo bluegrass territory with a folkie story that keeps the song down-home and earthy. Flemons’ energy is sustained through all of these tracks. He never lets up, forcing you to tap your feet, swing your hips and hit imaginary percussive instruments with a spare finger.

And so we go. There is much variety in this album with plenty of variations on the ‘folk’ theme. Flemons is never happy to sit still, artistically. He obviously loves to explore his musical interests. Take Georgia Drumbeat which is almost an hypnotic blues instrumental with avant-garde pretensions. Different from anything else that has gone before it. Flemons himself exceeds his banjo and harmonica playing by also tackling guitar, fife, bones, bass drum, snare drum and quills. His interest in percussion enhances his banjo technique which varies from clawhammer to tenor and three-finger playing.

A fun and fascinating album that stands repeated listening.