Imagine my surprise when I was surfing around the Bluegrass Today website catching up on the news and I stumbled across an article posted on January 4, 2014 by Richard Thompson. Richard was interviewing Donald Teplyske (a freelance roots and bluegrass music writer with reviews appearing regularly at The Lonesome Road Review and Country Standard Time, which also hosts Fervor Coulee Bluegrass, a roots music blog with additional reviews online). When asked “What is your favorite bluegrass project of all time and why?” Donald chose my album “Troubled Times.” You could have knocked me over with a feather!

Here’s what he had to say, “Just one? If I could listen to only one album I guess I would choose James Reams & the Barnstormers Troubled Times for several reasons. First, and most importantly, I think it is a terrific album – it has drive, something I always appreciate. Superb songs. It was the first album of James’ I encountered, and as such, is memorable as he has become a great long distance bluegrass friend. Secondly, until her death, I regularly corresponded with James’ partner Tina Aridas, and I truly appreciated her critical, insightful viewpoints on music and, most importantly for me, writing. Whenever I listen to Troubled Times, I can’t help but recall our many and varied e-mails on all matter of topics. Thirdly, the songs that James and Tina wrote for this album – The Hills of My County and Eye of the Storm, as well as James’ title track – are some of my favorites – while I’ve never lived the things they write about, I can feel those experiences through their songs. Finally, the album contains a Robby Fulks song (Cold Statesville Ground) which is just too cool.” 

It’s such a nice feeling to know that people like what you do and to have Donald choose one of my albums as his all time favorite was truly an honor. Since my birthday is coming up on 1/10; I’m considering this comment as my best birthday present ever!

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