On the Beat

Rhiannon Giddens will be last original Carolina Chocolate Drops member in January

The Carolina Chocolate Drops haven’t broken up - and yet they sort of have. Word comes that founding member Dom Flemons is leaving the Triangle-based stringband, which won a Grammy Award two years ago, to pursue a solo career. Flemons’ statement about his departure puts a positive spin on it:

Though my music is taking me to new places with my upcoming solo projects, I know that the Carolina Chocolate Drops will continue on to do new, amazing things. My past eight years with the band has been a wonderful experience, musically and personally. As my music grows in a new direction, I know I can count my time with them as a building block to where I am now. I am excited to continue on my musical journey exploring the hidden facets of American Music.

Flemons will play one final run of shows with the Drops next month, although the schedule doesn’t include a Triangle date. Coupled with the 2011 departure of Justin Robinson, this will leave Rhiannon Giddens as the Drops’ sole original member carrying on with replacements. But her statement about it is also upbeat:

Dom and I have been a tremendous team for the last eight years, and I wish him all the best on his new solo endeavor. I know he will be enriching the landscape of American music wherever he goes. Carolina Chocolate Drops lives on, and honors all past members who have added so much over the years; we wouldn't be where we are without each and every one. I'm looking forward to introducing new, talented musicians to the ever-expanding Chocolate Drop family!