At the IBMA World of Bluegrass conference, I had a chance to sit down and talk with Darwin Davidson, DJ for WERU radio in Bangor, ME and host of the popular Bronzewound Bluegrass Show. We had a great time chatting about the album, bluegrass music and the music industry. The show just aired but in case you missed it, you can click here to listen in: WERU Interview. As a bonus, you’ll get to hear 3 songs from my new album, Rhyme & Season! Enjoy!!
I just wanted to send out a big ole “Thank You!” for the incredible response you’ve given to my new album “Rhyme & Season.” A good friend of mine contacted me over the weekend and said, “Did you know that your album is charting on Roots Music Report?” I’ve been so busy lately that I hadn’t bothered to check in a while and sure enough, there it is, listed at number 37 and rising on the Roots Music Report Contemporary Bluegrass Chart. What a great early Christmas present, especially since it came from all of you!!!
I sure hope you and yours have a wonderful and blessed Holiday Season!
What a thrill to be invited to perform on AZTV’s popular Morning Scramble show. It’s been awhile since I’ve had to rise and shine…er, sing…that early in the morning! We had such a great time with host, Sandy Moss, a self-confessed bluegrass addict. From the moment we walked on to the set, the staff made us feel welcome and relaxed. The banter just flowed naturally and I could tell that Sandy was truly impressed by our performance (several of the crew were tapping their feet and nodding their heads as well!) When Sandy blurted out, “You guys rock!”, it was such a proud moment for me. I’ve posted our segment of the show on my YouTube channel, check it out for yourself and I hope you’ll agree with Sandy!
I was just sitting down with a cup of coffee and the California Bluegrass Association’s July newsletter when I saw the article about James Reams & The Barnstormers! I remembered giving the interview to Dave Berry shortly after our new album, Rhyme & Season, hit the streets…but honestly, I had forgotten all about it! What a nice surprise (and great article too!). I thought I’d post it here in case any of you are interested in checking it out.
I admit, I was holding my breath while waiting to hear what the critics thought about my new album, Rhyme & Season. Putting out an album is like cooking up an 11 or 12 course feast and hoping that folks like what you have done. The wait can be terrifying and sometimes the comments can be brutal. Thank goodness everyone really seems to like Rhyme & Season! I thought you might like to glance through some comments that have been received so far.
- “James Reams’ bluegrass may not be everyone’s, but there is little chance of it being labeled generic: rough around the edges, solid to the soul! Bluegrass concept albums remain rare, and on this wide-ranging collection of singular songs, Reams and his Barnstormers have crafted an intense and sympathetic portrait of turbulent times. Reflecting the forgotten, disenfranchised, discarded, and troubled, ‘Rhyme & Season’ is a mighty powerful return to the recording studio for one of bluegrass music’s most independent and evocative visionaries.” - Donald Teplyske, Reviewer for Country Standard Time
- “James Reams has walked the walk of those who have been cast aside. Now, in Rhyme & Season, he talks the talk. Actually, he sings it…with conviction. There is an authentic, gritty feel to the music that can’t be faked. This fine record will become an important part of the dialog about those who are down and out, left behind and marginalized.” - David Morris award winning songwriter and journalist, Reviewer for Bluegrass Today
- “Rhyme & Season had me mesmerized the entire time it was playing. It amazes me how [James] can continually raise the bar with each project. The lyrics of each song fit him like a glove and the instrumental [portion] of the project was superb.” – Al Shusterman, KCBL Radio, “Backroads Bluegrass” program host
- “James Reams has seen his share of tough times and they’ve clearly shaped who he is both musically and spiritually. This collection of tunes not only tells a beautiful story, but is beautiful to listen to. James’ unique voice and killer band carries you blissfully throughout the journey, a journey that James has chosen to use as a way to bring awareness to, and benefit the less fortunate. Good on you, James!” - Tony Kamel, Wood & Wire
- “James Reams’ new album [Rhyme & Season] is loaded with some of the best contemporary/traditional bluegrass music you’re likely to hear this year or any year.” - Mitch Finley, Music Reviewer for Inland Northwest Bluegrass Music Association
- “[Rhyme & Season’s] first song sucked me right in…I love the rockabilly sound of ‘Born to Roll.’ Your albums always tell a great story – that’s one of the things I’ve always liked about your music.” - Barb Heller, Program Host for NCPR Radio
When those boxes were unloaded from the UPS truck, I just couldn’t help getting excited. I was like a kid at Christmas opening them up and getting my first look at the completed CD that I’ve been working on for over a year. First thing I did was unwrap one and put it on to play. Making an album has a lot of magical moments, but none can compare to the first time you hear the finished product. I’m just pleased as punch and hope you are too!
Rhyme & Season will be available for online purchase on March 29th. Here’s what a couple of the early reviewers had to say:
“James Reams’ bluegrass may not be everyone’s, but there is little chance of it being labeled generic: it’s rough around the edges, solid to the soul! Bluegrass concept albums remain rare, and on this wide-ranging collection of singular songs, Reams and his Barnstormers have crafted an intense and sympathetic portrait of turbulent times. Reflecting the forgotten, disenfranchised, discarded, and troubled, “Rhyme & Season” is a mighty powerful return to the recording studio for one of bluegrass music’s most independent and evocative visionaries.” – Donald Teplyske, Country Standard Time
“Listening to James Reams’ “Rhyme & Season” is as comfortable as returning home after being away. But that sentiment belies the more serious and sincere undercurrent running throughout the album. The album definitely has the James Reams ‘stamp!’ this album is a credit to his existence.” – Brian McNeal, Prescription Bluegrass
While I was at the 2015 World of Bluegrass I ran into the energetic and engaging host of “I Had to Ask” a podcast that covers a multitude of topics but when it comes to music…it’s all about bluegrass. Lillian Freeman is just 13 years old and yet the questions she poses are the most insightful that I’ve ever been asked. She had me bareing my soul in no time! We talked quite a bit about the impetus behind my new album, Rhyme & Season, which will be coming out in March and how childhood/young adult experiences shaped this concept album. I was delighted to speak with her and hope you enjoy the conversation as well. Here’s the link: Episode 38: Interview with James Reams.
I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am that our “happy little festival” in Brooklyn has been nominated for the IBMA 2014 Event of the Year! And “YES!” it is an honor just to be nominated. Wow! This is just so exciting!
The Park Slope Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Jamboree has been a labor of love for me for 16 years now. I almost chucked in the towel on the Jamboree after my partner, Tina, passed away but something deep inside me just wouldn’t let me give it up. And I’m so glad I didn’t!
Last year’s festival honored Bill Keith with the Brown Jug Award for his contributions to bluegrass music and I’m proud to see that he has been selected as a 2015 Inductee into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame.
I hope the news of this nomination encourages more folks to come out and join us on September 25-26 for our 16th Jamboree. We’ve got a great lineup of artists and workshops planned! More information is available on this website under the “Jamboree” tab.
I was so excited to receive my copy of “Bluegrass in Baltimore: The Hard Drivin’ Sound and Its Legacy” by Tim Newby. A while back, Tim had asked me to contribute information about my hero and friend, Walter Hensley, which I was more than happy to do and then, quite frankly, I totally forgot about it.
To say I was thrilled by what I read is an understatement, I’m overjoyed and overwhelmed with gratitude to have been a part of this wonderful contribution to the genre I love so much. Not only did Tim capture the flavor of bluegrass in Baltimore, he conveyed its’ very essence. In a fluid style that captivates the reader from the preface to the final chapter, Tim’s passion and depth of knowledge regarding this rich and “woefully under-documented” history of bluegrass permeates every page. I couldn’t put it down. I was especially touched by the tribute this book pays to Walt as well as honored to be included in a work that is destined to be a bluegrass classic and must-have for any bluegrass historian. Hats off to Tim Newby for a delectable slice of bluegrass pie!
The book is now available on Amazon, at Target and probably a bookstore near you. Click HERE to see a video about the book.
The last days of the Kickstarter Campaign to help with the production costs of my newest album, Rhyme & Season, are here. The campaign will end at midnight on Sunday, May 31st. I’m so close I can taste it!! But, if the $5000 goal isn’t reached by midnight on 5/31, then the campaign will be terminated as if it never happened at all. I won’t receive a penny and none of the pledgers will be charged.
I just need $1500 more and we’ll make it. If you have been waiting to see if this project is for real, check out the article that appeared last week in Bluegrass Today. If you were waiting to see if we were going to fund…stop waiting and start pledging!
This is it…if the campaign doesn’t fund, then production will be delayed until I can raise the money. Putting out an album on your own has it’s perks (artistic freedom being HUGE!) but that means that I also have to lay out a lot of money upfront for licensing, studio rental, mixing, graphics as well as paying the special guests that will appear on the album. That adds up to a pile of cash and last time I looked, I hadn’t won the lottery yet. My well is just about dried up and I sure hate to delay this project. Please, dig deep and support this project now.