‘Old Town Road’ and the History of Black Cowboys in America


When folk-singer Dom Flemons began delving into the cultural history of African-Americans in the West a few years ago, he conceived the subject as a quirky passion project. “At first it was just casual research,” he says. “But when I found out one in four cowboys in the West were African-American cowboys, that sent me on a trajectory to figure something out: Why don’t I hear more about black cowboys in contemporary culture?”

The end result of Flemons’ curiosity was Black Cowboys, released last spring, a deeply historically-minded album of Western songs that traces the forgotten cultural history and musical lineages of black cowboys in the American West.

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