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Grammy Award-winning musician to play free concert, hold free banjo workshop at Pellissippi State

Dom Flemons with banjo

Dom Flemons will perform a concert and hold a banjo workshop at Pellissippi State on Wednesday, Feb. 23.

It’s not every day that you get to hear and learn from a Grammy Award-winning musician, but Pellissippi State Community College offers that opportunity to the public next week – for free. 

Dom Flemons, a 2020 United States Artists Fellow, will perform a free concert at the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23, as part of the college’s Black History Month celebration. 

Flemons also will hold a free workshop on the African roots of the banjo and its influence on American music at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23, also in the Clayton Performing Arts Center, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville. 

No tickets are required for the performance, which also is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State series. 

“Dom Flemons is an internationally sought-after expert on the history of American music and particularly the influence of the music brought by enslaved people and continued by African Americans,” said Matt Spraker, director of Student Engagement and Leadership for Pellissippi State. “There is not a better musician and historian to come share the history of the banjo and perform than Flemons.”   

Flemons has branded himself “The American Songster” because his repertoire of music covers over 100 years of early American popular music. He is considered an expert player on the banjo, guitar, harmonica, jug, percussion, quills, fife and rhythm bones.  

Flemons won a Grammy Award in 2011 for Best Traditional Folk Album with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an old-time string band he cofounded in 2005. In 2018, Flemons’ solo album “Dom Flemons Presents Black Cowboys” received a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album. He also had his major solo debut at the Grand Ole Opry and was nominated for two Emmys for the PBS episode “Songcraft Presents Dom Flemons” and for the song “Good Old Days” he cowrote with songwriter Ben Arthur. 

“Pellissippi State is located in a region that continues to embrace and advance Appalachian music, in which the banjo plays a critical role,” Spraker explained of the college’s decision to hold Banjo Week during Black History Month. “For over 200 years the banjo has accompanied changes in American culture and music from minstrel shows, blues, Dixieland jazz, bluegrass and beyond.” 

Banjo Week is presented in collaboration with Pellissippi State’s Music department, Audio Production Engineering concentration within the Media Technologies program, and Student Care and Advocacy. Other events will include a performance by Pellissippi State’s bluegrass ensemble, Hardin Valley Thunder, at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22, in the former cafeteria in the Goins Administration Building as well as interactive displays about the banjo. 

Masks are not required on any Pellissippi State campus, but are recommended when social distancing cannot be maintained.  

For a list of Pellissippi State’s upcoming music events during spring 2022, visit To request accommodations for a disability for this or any Pellissippi State event, call 865.539.7401 or email 

For more information on Pellissippi State, visit or call 865.694.6400.