FREE Stuff and More to Make Your Holidays Bright!

Barnstormin CD Free Download

Hard up for cash this holiday season? Take advantage of my FREE album download available at NoiseTrade. I originally made the Barnstormin’ album available this year as a thank you to bluegrass followers everywhere in celebration of my 20th anniversary as a bandleader, but hey, it works as a great gift too! Just include the link in your e-card or letter to friends and family and turn them on to some great bluegrass. What could be simpler?

dvd-cd giftsAnd if your pockets aren’t empty (yet!), then how about cybershopping my artist page at CDBaby. The recently released DVD documentary “Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass” would be a welcome addition to any bluegrass historian’s library and is just $20. And don’t forget to throw in a CD of some great bluegrass music! Our most recent album, “One Foot in the Honky Tonk” made two Top Ten CDs of 2011 lists and had a single that charted nationally. Or perhaps you want to go with a bigger bang for your buck? Well then, how about the double set “Troubled Times” which includes the highly acclaimed CD featuring original songs and new arrangements of classics PLUS a DVD of the full-length docmentary “Rollin’ On” about life on the road with me and the band.

gift items 3

Looking for some non-musical bluegrass items? I’ve got that too! At the James Reams Market (powered by CafePress) there’s a whole line of items from T-shirts to embroidered baseball caps to chambray workshirts featuring the logo of your favorite bluegrass band! And what bluegrass lover doesn’t enjoy waking up in the morning to a nice hot cup of coffee? Well, now that coffee can be served in a mug or travel mug that let’s everyone know you’re a bluegrass lover.

Simply click on the item choices displayed across the top of the site to see the most popular items. To see the full collection, choose from the gray sidebar under “Shop by Collection.” Choices include Miscellaneous (golf balls, canvas bags, totes, office items, stickers etc.), Drinkware (water bottles, coffee mugs, thermos, even coasters!), and Apparel (hats, shirts, aprons, flip flops…everything you need to outfit yourself for a bluegrass festival). There are over 400 items to choose from at the James Reams Market so there’s sure to be something unique to please that “hard to buy for” loved one or friend.

Shameless promoting aside, I do wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season. All the best to you in 2014!

Halloween Hotline

cruel willie gravestone

Although not really known for songs that are spine chillers, bluegrass does have it’s share of haunting lyrics. Take “Cold Statesville Ground” for example. I shudder every time I sing this one. It’s told in the first person from the viewpoint of a deathrow inmate heading off to the gallows for a particularly gruesome murder that he seems to gleefully describe. You want goosebumps on Halloween? This is the song for you.

Not into the gory details? Well, how about “Cruel Willie?” This quirky little tune describes how a love ‘em and leave ‘em ladies man finally gets his comeupppance. Both of these songs appear on my album, “Troubled Times.” So drag the CD out and humm along this Halloween. Or better yet, give your favorite DJ a call and request them so everyone can have a listen!  Have a safe and Happy Halloween.

Memorial Day – Remembering 911

911 Memorial Park

911 Memorial Park

I was back in New York City this past week putting the finishing touches on the DVD documentary, “Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass” as well as performing at Battery Park.

With Memorial Day coming up I took advantage of some spare time to visit the 911 Memorial which is quite close to Battery Park. Some places just seem to take your breath away and the 911 Memorial Park is one of them. It’s hard to describe the feelings I experienced as I walked around the two reflecting pools and read the names of some of those who died in the attacks. Flowers and pebbles were scattered here and there, tokens that loved ones are not forgotten.

This coming Memorial Day weekend many will remember and honor those who have died, and especially those who died protecting others and our freedom.  Please join me in saying a prayer for those who lost their lives and for the families that lost a loved one.

A Tribute to Mom

bluegrass blog - a tribute to Mom

Mother’s Day is coming up…as if one day to honor our mothers is ever enough. For many of us, our mothers were the ones that gave us the courage to pursue our dreams and supported us when the struggle to reach those dreams seemed overwhelming.

My mom was my number one fan. To say that she was influential in my career is like saying Bill Monroe was influential in bluegrass music! Back when I was just a little kid, she used to sing Carter Family songs with her sisters and was always urging me to join in. That’s how I learned to sing and harmonize. The words of those old songs still take me right back to our home in Kentucky and those summertime singalongs.

BW family When I moved to New York City to see if I could become a professional musician, she tried to talk me out of going, but gave in when she saw my heart was set on it. She wasn’t much for phone calls, but she sent me care packages from home so I wouldn’t become, in her words, “a starving musician out on the streets.”

And boy was she proud when I sent her my first album, you’d a thought I was the President! But when I was nominated by the IBMA as Emerging Artist of the Year in 2002, she said, “I’ve always believed in you.” And that meant more to me than any award.

She’s been the inspiration behind many of the songs I sing, heck, she’s the reason that I even sing at all. Just last year, I took her a big bouquet of spring flowers for Mother’s Day and her whole face lit up. She so loved bright, pretty flowers. This year, she’s gone. I know she’s still my number one fan up in heaven and that she’s now able to make it to every show. But, I still miss hearing her voice and that feeling of love that comes from a mother’s hug.

Dot Reams

Dorothy Reams 1924 ~ 2013

 

May is Bluegrass Music Month – Let’s Celebrate!

May Bluegrass Month

Help me celebrate the music that we love during the month of May. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Post a comment on Facebook or Twitter
  • Join a Yahoo discussion group about Bluegrass (I have 2 of them AZ Bluegrass-Oldtime and NY Bluegrass-Oldtime)
  • Subscribe to an online bluegrass magazine to keep up with the latest news in the industry
  • Add to your collection of great bluegrass music (check out the free download of my album, Barnstormin’, from NoiseTrade)
  • Ask your local DJ to play a song from your favorite bluegrass band
  • Visit the International Bluegrass Music Museum (at least check out their website and maybe make a donation)
  • Support your local bluegrass association by becoming a member
  • Jam with some friends on your backporch
  • Proudly wear your bluegrass shirts and hats (if you need some new stuff, check out the store on my website)
  • Go to a bluegrass festival and have some fun!!

Make Mine a Bluegrass Valentine!

Blackest Crow Cover

It’s Valentine’s Day! And whether you bring out a box of chocolates or a box of tissues, bluegrass has the song for you. My album, The Blackest Crow, has just about everything anyone who has ever been in love could relate to. It takes you from the first bloom of love all the way to letting go. Here are my favorites: “Just Loving You,” “Big Black Shotgun,” “The Blackest Crow,”, “Just a Year Ago Today,” and “Oh So Many Years”. Request your favorite to be played on the radio. Let’s get together and sing a few!