Dom Flemons and Layla McCalla to Leave Carolina Chocolate Drops, Embark on Solo Careers

Posted on November 12, 2013 | by Amber von Nagel

Carolina Chocolate Drops

Today the Carolina Chocolate Drops officially announced that founding member Dom Flemons will be leaving the band at the end of the year to pursue a solo career. A singer and multi-instrumentalist with the group, Flemons has been a part of the band's Grammy Award-winning line-up since 2005.

“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,” Flemons said in a statement. “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.”

In more bad news for fans of the current line-up, cellist Leyla McCalla has also announced that she is departing Carolina Chocolate Drops, leaving 5-string banjo player and founding member Rhiannon Giddens and multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins to carry on without her and Flemons.  

“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,” Giddens said. “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!”

Giddens said that she has already found replacements for McCalla and Flemons. Cellist Malcolm Parson and multi-instrumentalist Rowan Corbett will begin playing with Giddens and Jenkins at the conclusion of the current line-up's December tour. 

The Drops' final tour dates with Flemons and McCalla will take them through Atlanta, GA; Asheville, NC; Knoxville, TN; and Charlotte, NC. They will be appearing in support of Pokey LaFarge.

Flemons will begin 2014 with a solo tour of Australia (more details to come on, and Carolina Chocolate drops will begin touring with their new members in February (details at

While we're sad to hear about these two wonderful musicians' departure from the band, we're happy to know that Dom, Leyla, and the Drops will all continue to make music, and we can't wait to see what the future holds for both the band and the soon-to-be solo artists.

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