This week at eTown, we present musical guests The War and Treaty, comprised of husband and wife duo Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter, along with “The American Songster” himself, Dom Flemons. Nick also has a chat with Mack Bailey, founder and executive director of Music Therapy of the Rockies, who discusses the role of music in healing trauma.
The War and Treaty
Founded in 2014 by the husband-and-wife duo Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter, The War And Treaty have emerged as one of the most electrifying new acts in American music. With a lionhearted sonic blend – both roaring with passion and tender to the touch, they “are making soul moves that are captivating everyone who sees them,” (Hits Magazine). Covering a diverse range of music pallets with their “jaw-dropping harmonies” (American Songwriter), trailblazing husband-and-wife duo The War And Treaty expand on their sound that cuts through the whole of Southern music tradition with the release of their milestone album, LOVER’S GAME (Mercury Nashville). The 10-song collection produced by Dave Cobb proves why the “Nashville couple is as good as it gets” (Music Row) as they offer “stunning vocals and thought-provoking lyrics” (Nashville Lifestyles) that share a unique perspective on shifting cultural and musical tides while pulling back the layers of a maturing relationship. Earning respect, they’ve gone on to appear as top-flight collaborators, and have been recognized by the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry and the Americana Music Association as “2022 Duo/Group of the Year.” With more than 100 shows last year, the duo have dominated stages across the globe including North America, Europe, Italy, Australia, and Ireland, while headlining their own shows and opening for a diverse group of living legends; Al Green, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, John Legend, Lauren Daigle and Van Morrison among them. As they have created vastly diverse tour opportunities across multiple genres, The War And Treaty will join Chris Stapleton on the All American Road Show Tour this summer.
For more information visit www.thewarandtreaty.com.
GRAMMY Award Winner, Two-Time EMMY Nominee, 2020 U.S. Artists Fellow Dom Flemons is originally from Phoenix, Arizona and currently lives in the Chicago area with his family. 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, slam poet, 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.
In 2020, Dom Flemons re-issued his album titled Prospect Hill: “The American Songster Omnibus on Omnivore Recordings. The two CD album features 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. His original song “I Can’t Do It Anymore” was released on a limited edition wax cylinder recording. Recently, he released a cover of the Elmore James classic “Shake Your Money Maker”, recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis, alongside Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band and featured guest, legendary guitarist Steve Cropper. He played his six-string banjo (Big Head Joe), Quills, and Bones on Tyler Childers groundbreaking album Long Violent History and played jug alongside Brandford Marsalis on the soundtrack to Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Netflix.
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 Cowboyson 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 and has spent over 55 weeks on the BILLBOARD Bluegrass Charts and Flemons was nominated for “Artist of The Year” at the International Folk Music Awards, “Best Acoustic Album” at the Blues Music Awards, and “Best Folk Album” at the Liberia Awards. He won a Wammie Awards for “Best Folk Album”, won a Living Blues Award for “New Recordings/ Traditional & Acoustic album”, and received the ASCAP Foundation Paul Williams “Loved the Liner Notes” Award. Flemons had his major solo debut on the Grand Ole Opry, on a night with Carrie Underwood and Old Crow Medicine Show and was included in the American Currents Class of 2018 exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame Exhibit alongside Reba McEntire, Jeannie Seely, Chris Stapleton, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Kane Brown, Dan Auerbach, Dan + Shay, John Prine and more.
At the 2018 National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Mid-America Awards Flemons was nominated for TWO EMMYS 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, a duo album with British musician Martin Simpson titled “Ever Popular Favourite; was released 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 and at the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, TN.
Flemons currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Steve Martin Banjo Prize, Music Maker Relief Foundation and is a Governor on the Board of Directors for the Washington, D.C Chapter of the Recording Academy.
Mack Bailey has been a musician since the age of eight. He toured with various groups including the Hard Travelers, the Limeliters, a musical tribute to John Denver featuring John’s band members, and as a duo with his wife, Rachel Levy.
In 2011, Mack went back to school to pursue his masters in music therapy at Colorado State University. After finishing the program and completing his internship at Colorado Children’s Hospital, Mack became board certified in the field. He started his own music therapy practice in Aspen, CO.
In 2019, he founded Music Therapy of the Rockies as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization focusing on mental health, music therapy research and techniques, and helping military veterans re-frame their military experience.
Mack’s personal story includes a time of deep depression in which he did not seek support and found himself ready to end his life. He credits writing a song at the 11th hour with saving his life. Through his education in neurologic music therapy, he became interested in how music rewired his brain.
Mack started working with veterans through Challenge Aspen in 2014, where he incorporated therapeutic songwriting as a means of self-expression and reframing their story. There were many powerful moments within the sessions and it became apparent that through structured, evidence-based techniques, the elements of music were instrumental in rewiring how the brain processed emotions, self-expression, and behaviors.
Mack began developing a full curriculum of the research and studies to show that this belief could be replicated. With much success, Mack implemented retreats in Nashville (at Amy Grant and Vince Gill’s farm) and in Cleveland, even being featured on CNN and Amy Grant’s Holiday TV Special.
Mack founded Music Therapy of the Rockies with a mission to help veterans and people who have experienced trauma, and to teach other music therapists the proven skills that have been positively affecting people’s lives. Mack is also dedicated to furthering music therapy research and mental health in his local community of Roaring Fork Valley, Colorado.