This true story is about Paula’s enslaved then emancipated ancestor.  We knew nothing of King Brewster before Covid and his story inspires us to learn more about enslaved Africans and their journey to freedom in the United States. When Paula shared the lyrics with Dom Flemons (Carolina Chocolate Drops co-founder)  he responded by saying “every line you’ve written Paula is poetry.” We’re grateful Dom joined us.  In addition to singing he played banjo, bones and jug.

Listening Links


"Rewriting the bluegrass story from a black perspective." - AmericanaUK


"This Seattle combo dubs its sound “soulgrass,” since it combines bluegrass and Americana idioms. This track is a story song telling of Paula’s enslaved ancestor in Alabama and his journey through the postbellum Jim Crow South. Flemons, a veteran of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, shares lead vocals.  MusicRow Magazine


"Paula Boggs Band joins with Dom Flemons to share “King Brewster,” a song from Janus written about Boggs’ enslaved-then-emancipated ancestor."  Americana Music Association


“Paula, you’ve created poetry in every line of this song, and I’d love to be part of it.” Dom Flemons, American Songster


“King Brewster” tells the true story of one of Boggs’ ancestors who was enslaved and emancipated. The lyrics are very powerful. It’s a heartbreaking story of a father who treated his own son as property. The lyric goes beyond talking about how African-Americans were treated and explores the relationship between a father and a son. A part of the song describes his father whipping him because that was what he was taught to do. The song also features the legendary Dom Flemons.” Country Music Views


“King Brewster,” [b]eginning  with a wailing harmonica, the band sets the stage for a tale of long ago — this one a true one, about Boggs’ enslaved (and emancipated) ancestor. Boggs and [Dom] Flemons trade verses in Brewster’s heroic epic, with Flemons contributing two different banjo parts. The song is a hard-driving narrative of liberation and frustration with how little has changed. The song is a rallying cry that unites the past, present, and future.” — Adobe & Teardrops 


"Boggs captures a raw nostalgia ...that might catch you by surprise.  She has created a gentle groove for your heartache." - Americana Highways



Winner Best Acoustic Song Clouzine International Awards Fall 2022

2022 Song of the Year©️ Songwriting Competition Folk Music Finalist