“Diesel Smoke and Dangerous Curves”

“Diesel Smoke and Dangerous Curves”

Litchfield Park, Az. (February 23, 2022)  – Mountain Redbird Music is proud to announce a new single and video, “Diesel Smoke Dangerous Curves,” from James Reams. The song appears on his recently released album Like a Flowing River & Soundtrack Album. Reams’ highwire voice is immediately recognizable as he takes you on a wild ride on the track. The video is available now on YouTube and JamesReams.com. The song is available at all major streaming and purchasing outlets.

“When I first heard ‘Diesel Smoke Dangerous Curves,’ I thought to myself that is one great trucking song. When I think of truck drivers, I can’t be grateful enough because, as front liners, they have kept us with food and everything else, even when their lives are on the line when they are amid Diesel Smoke and Dangerous Curves,” said Reams.

Reams’ music has been welcomed on Bluegrass, Folk, and Americana radio. Renowned Americana DJ Darwin Lee Hills says, “Put your pedal to the metal with ‘Diesel Smoke and Dangerous Curves’ by James Reams. It’s REAL MOTORVATIN’ BLUEGRASS!”

James Reams is known for his traditional music performed with his signature style and emotional delivery. With years of experience under his belt, he delivers an energetic stage show with enormous stamina, mesmerizing audiences and critics alike. “James Reams and the Barnstormers have built a solid reputation for lively, spirited, soulful, no-frills-added bluegrass with a nice mix of traditional numbers, covers, and originals. Fronted by his rustic and rural lead vocals, they dish up exciting bluegrass in a classic old-school style of yesteryear,” Joss Ross, bluegrass music album reviewer.

Like A Flowing River & Soundtrack Album celebrates the popular documentary available now Amazon Prime Video. The album was released to radio programmers worldwide last month and immediately landed in the #1 and #2 spots on AirPlay Direct’s Top Album Chart. Music fans can stream or purchase at all major outlets, including Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, and Amazon Music.

Please visit JamesReams.com for additional information and follow James Reams and The Barnstormers on Spotify, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook

 

“King of the Blues” Single and Video Release

“King of the Blues” Single and Video Release

The bluegrass balladeer James Reams releases the single and video for “King of the Blues,” from his recently released album Like a Flowing River & Soundtrack Album on Mountain Redbird Music. “King of the Blues” is a deep song that talks about the bitterness of a man’s life who is sad at his broken palace with nothing to lose; however, he is the king, the king of the blues. The video is available now on YouTube and JamesReams.com. Additionally, the song is available at all major streaming and purchasing outlets.

“I love this song because most of life experiences involve relationships. When relationships are over, they can leave complete chaos. Songwriting is wonderful because it’s self-expression which naturally lends itself to a story like this about the end of love and following destruction,” explains Reams.

The album is the soundtrack for the critically acclaimed documentary film, Like A Flowing River: A Bluegrass Passage, now available on Amazon Prime Video. The album includes 30 remastered tracks plus a bonus track; many are unreleased with some live recordings. In addition, James Reams collaborated with his band The Barnstormers and with legendary banjo player Walter Hensley and seminal musician Tom Paley on this album that acts as a 30-year retrospective.

Critics applaud the documentary, Like A Flowing River, A Bluegrass Passage, and agree this is a monumental soundtrack album.

“Like all of James’ work, it is another magnificent album from a great entertainer, singer, and consummate storyteller,” Greg McGrath, Australian Bluegrass.

“James Reams is one of bluegrass music’s unconventional stalwarts, an independent and evocative visionary. Like a Flowing River & Soundtrack Album serves as both an introduction to one of bluegrass music’s most interesting purveyors and as a transitory capstone to an unconventional bluegrass journey,” Country Standard Time.

Like A Flowing River & Soundtrack Album was released to radio programmers worldwide earlier this month and immediately landed in the #1 and #2 spots on AirPlay Direct’s Top Album Chart. Additionally, music fans can stream or purchase at all major outlets, including SpotifyApple Music, iTunes, and Amazon Music.

James Reams and The Barnstormers are now on tour. Event producer Doug Tuchman, who was the first editor of Pickin’ Magazine and a DJ on NYC’s WKCR, says, “This is the best traditionally oriented bluegrass band in the area, bar none. They combine wonderful harmonies and instrumental back-up in a sensitive but energy-charged show.”

To book the band at your event or to get more information on James Reams and The Barnstormers, please visit JamesReams.com and on SpotifyInstagramYouTubeTwitter, and Facebook.

 

Like a Flowing River & Soundtrack Album Now Released

Like a Flowing River & Soundtrack Album Now Released

Today, the bluegrass balladeer James Reams released the long-awaited two-disc, 30-track Like a Flowing River & Soundtrack Album on Mountain Redbird Music at all major streaming and purchasing outlets. The project comes on the heels of his successful documentary film, Like A Flowing River: A Bluegrass Passage last year. The film celebrates his long career in music with heartwarming stories from his adventurous life and available on Amazon Prime and for DVD purchase.

“With both his life and career marked by highs and lows; challenge and triumph; Reams has always come through as a survivor; a champion with an indelible sense of humor. He has faced a life-threatening illness in his youth; homelessness; a bout with vocal cord paralysis that threatened his career; and the heartbreaking loss of his beloved partner and greatest advocate, Tina Aridas, to cancer. Still, James has endured as a songwriter, entertainer, and a supporter of other artists and musicians — always with optimism and determination,” JubileeCast.

Critics agree this is a monumental documentary and soundtrack album.

Documentary: “If you’re into bluegrass, you know that Reams has been around through a hectic stretch in its history and turned in some of its most compelling works along the way – here, his story gets the platform it earned two and a half decades ago.” ~ The Hollywood Digest

Soundtrack Album: “When I think of James Reams, the word that immediately comes to mind is Authenticity. He approaches his music from a place of Heart, Soul, and Conviction that is genuine and authentic.” ~ Country Standard Time

James Reams and The Barnstormers will celebrate the album release on Saturday, January 8, 2022 at the Pinal Agri-County Bluegrass Festival in Casa Grande, Arizona. Fans can purchase the new album at the show or stream and purchase at all major outlets today. Recently the band performed during the International Bluegrass Association’s World of Bluegrass in Raleigh and a residency on the Las Vegas strip.

Like A Flowing River & Soundtrack Album was released to radio programmers worldwide weeks ago and quickly landed in the #1 and #2 spots on AirPlay Direct’s Top Album Chart and dominated the Top 50 Bluegrass Song chart with all tracks from the album appearing in the top slots. Since there are 30 tracks on the album, the chart success was split into the two top spots. “Red Rocking Chair” has been a hit at radio and is his most downloaded song by radio programmers. The song video can be viewed on YouTube, Facebook, and JamesReams.com.

James is thrilled with the album release saying, “I just want to thank everyone who made this possible. My journey has been touched by so many and I’m grateful every single day!”

Like A Flowing River & Soundtrack Album is now available at all major streaming and purchasing outlets including Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, and Amazon Music. Please visit JamesReams.com for additional information. Also, follow James Reams and The Barnstormers on Spotify, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

More on James Reams

Reams is a true bluegrass music ambassador and a talented filmmaker. In May, he represented bluegrass music at the MIM called the “Greatest Global Music Museum in the World.” The collection of over 15,000 musical instruments and associated objects includes examples from nearly 200 countries and territories, representing every inhabited continent.

He also produced the documentary film “Making History with The Pioneers of Bluegrass: Tales of the Early Days in Their Own Words.” He dedicated the film to his late and beloved companion, Tina Aridas. The film includes his discussions with first-generation bluegrassers such as Jimmy Martin, Mac Wiseman, and Jesse McReynolds.

 

New Single Release: “Rough Around The Edges”

New Single Release: “Rough Around The Edges”

Nashville, Tenn. (September 2, 2021) – The bluegrass balladeer, James Reams has released a new single, the Marty Stuart cover of “Rough Around The Edges.” The song appears on the James Reams Like a Flowing River & Soundtrack album releasing on Mountain Redbird Music next January.

This highly anticipated new album comes on the heels of his successful documentary film,

“Like A Flowing River: A Bluegrass Passage” last year. It celebrates his long career in music with heartwarming stories from his adventurous life. The film is available on Amazon Prime and available for DVD purchase.

“Rough Around The Edges” is now available at all major streaming and purchasing sites including Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music, and more. Radio programmers can download the song at AirPlay Direct and Get It Played or request a direct download link.

James Reams and The Barnstormers are now on tour including holding residency on the Las Vegas strip and continuing to book festivals and concerts around the country. Music fans can visit James Reams during the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass in Raleigh later this month at the band’s booth in the Convention Center.

Please visit JamesReams.com for additional information. Also, follow James Reams and The Barnstormers on Spotify, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

More on James Reams

Reams is a true bluegrass music ambassador and a talented filmmaker. In May, he represented bluegrass music at the MIM called the “Greatest Global Music Museum in the World.” The collection of over 15,000 musical instruments and associated objects includes examples from nearly 200 countries and territories, representing every inhabited continent.

He also produced the documentary film “Making History with The Pioneers of Bluegrass: Tales of the Early Days in Their Own Words.” He dedicated the film to his late and beloved companion, Tina Aridas. The film includes his discussions with first-generation bluegrassers such as Jimmy Martin, Mac Wiseman, and Jesse McReynolds.

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Pioneers DVD

“Back when we were playing,
we didn’t realize that we were making history,
but we were.”

Art Stamper

(Click on DVD cover to view trailer)

A film dedicated to Constance Tina Aridas:  “If you join the dancers, you must dance.”

Shooting began in April of 2002 at the Grand Opening of the International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro, KY. Additional footage was shot on location in the buses of the pioneers, at their homes and backstage at bluegrass festivals across the US. Release date:  July 22, 2013; run time: 84 minutes.

CLICK HERE to order the DVD

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The Story Behind the Scenes

In early 2002, I was sitting in my office in Brooklyn and realized what a loss the bluegrass community had suffered recently with the deaths of so many legends like Benny Martin, Pappy Sherrill, Jimmy Stoneman, John Hartford, and Bill Napier to name a few. I remember saying to my partner, Tina,  “It’s a shame that all of these pioneers of bluegrass music are passing away and their stories may never be told.” And we got to thinking about all the unsung heroes of bluegrass that have died, with barely a ripple in music circles. What stories would they have told about the early days, about the big name stars, about their love of this music? So we thought it would be amazing to be able to talk to these remaining pioneers and share their thoughts and insights with future generations.

When we received an invitation from the International Bluegrass Music Museum for their Grand Opening in April of 2002, we realized that was a perfect opportunity to kickoff the interview process with some of the first generation bluegrass greats. Since I had no filmmaking background, I contacted a friend in the film industry to help and off we went to make a splash in bluegrass history.

We took a roadtrip down to Owensboro KY, and with a handheld video camera, started interviewing and filming legends that had gathered together to support the museum dedicated to the preservation and promotion of bluegrass music. Then we started contacting pioneers in Nashville and surrounding areas, going to their homes, riding on their buses, and talking to them backstage before performances.  Everywhere we went, we were not only welcomed but embraced…they wanted to share their stories and their love of this music.

One of the most important excerpts from this film is an interview with Patsy and Donna Stoneman from the Stoneman Family. Few people realize that before the Carter family, there was Ernest “Pop” Stoneman, his wife Hattie, and their family. Their music spanned old time country music to what eventually became known as bluegrass. The Bristol, TN sessions from 1927 are often credited as the earliest country recordings. But starting back in 1924, Ernest Stoneman had already cut two unissued songs for Okeh Records followed by more than 100 other recordings over the next 3 years, including string band standards such as Old Joe Clark, John Hardy, Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down, The Long Eared Mule, and Going Up Cripple Creek — all prior to the Bristol recordings. Patsy and Donna were visibly upset because Poppa Stoneman wasn’t even in the Country Music Hall of Fame [he was finally inducted in 2008]. They worried that the entire legacy of the Stoneman Family would be forgotten and were anxious to talk to me…to preserve their family history.

I remember sitting on the porch of a log cabin in PA with Kenny Baker talking about his music and realizing that his story and his association with Bill Monroe is just as important as Bill Monroe’s story. Kenny worked with Bill for over 25 years, playing longer than anyone else as a Blue Grass Boy, before moving on to release albums of his own. His insights into Bill Monroe’s music and the tunes that he helped Bill create, like Jerusalem Ridge, are some of the rare gems collected by this film.

Driving down winding roads back into the hills and bouncing through creeks to interview some of these reclusive musicians, I was struck by how many of them felt that nobody was interested in their story. To see their eyes light up as they talked about their contribution to music they love made it all so real to me. Time after time, they reiterated that one man didn’t create this genre, it was born from the dedication of many old time musicians that took their licks and gave them right back again in the form of their music.

After gathering a number of interviews on film, we started thinking about how this should all come together. We found an editor, Joe Coppa, and pieced together a 20 minute preview which was released in 2005 with our CD “Troubled Times”. That sneak peak generated a whole pile of cards and letters from all kinds of people, including Art Stamper’s widow, thanking us for the memories. The outpouring of love and encouragement from the bluegrass community was invigorating. In fact, the International Bluegrass Music Museum even contacted us about contributing to their Oral History Project, which shared many of the same goals that we had for our film. So, we agreed to conduct additional interviews with Frank Wakefield, Walter Hensley, Roger Sprung and Pete Seeger that can now be seen at the museum.

In post production, everything that could have gone wrong, has gone wrong. The film industry went bust with the recession and advent of Internet based materials, so funds dried up. Technical difficulties mounted. And then, in 2011, there was the death of my partner, Tina Aridas, who was a huge influence on and a major supporter of this film. One of her dying wishes was that this film would be completed.

I’m celebrating 20 years as a bandleader in 2013. My music career is going strong and I’m again collaborating with legendary musicians making the music I love. I want so much to be able to share these interviews with fans everywhere and thought that my 20th anniversary would be perfect timing for the film’s release.

Everyone who truly loves this music should want to hear the stories from not just the big names in our business but from the likes of Bill Yates, Art Stamper, Melvin Goins, and Kenny Baker…words preserved now in this documentary, honoring their legacy. “Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass” proves that their lives are no less important to how bluegrass got started than the major stars. If you want to hear stories from the heart, captured by a fan and fellow musician, this is a great place to begin.

Like A Flowing River: A Bluegrass Passage, available now on Amazon.

The Untold Story: The Struggle Behind A Film

I hope everyone is safe during these times. Part of the truth of life is we feel compelled to pursue our goals, despite what may be happening around us. Sometimes we feel nervous, stretched, or even at risk, maybe that lets us know we’re on the right track, or in the right boat. Filming this documentary felt like that at times.
 
I had some doubts and fears when we started making the documentary. Yet my heart kept telling me what an amazing opportunity, to be able to tell a story of survival, an inspiration for those who think “not me”. We all fear, but that can create growth and change.

James Reams & The Barnstormers are happy to announce that the documentary Like a Flowing River: A Bluegrass Passage is available now.

Like A Flowing River: A Bluegrass Passage

Click here to pre-order on Amazon!

7 Ways to Engage Your Audience and Boost Engagement

Musicians of all genres and levels, from the small time troubadour to the international pop super star, spend time traveling up to play shows for the good people in all corners of the world. From huge festival stages to tiny coffee houses and everywhere in between, musicians hawk their wares in hopes that audience members will take home a piece of the evenings magic in the form of a CD, t-shirt, or even a vinyl record, that leave will them wanting more and eagerly awaiting the time you’ll bring your show back to their area. This merchandise serves as a business card of sorts, and getting a calling card in the hand of as many people’s hands as possible is the key to continued success. Though the initial sale puts gas in the tank and food in your belly, these reminders of you can provide you more opportunities to share your music in performance in the future. Are you looking for tips on how to improve your presence in the music scene? Having trouble making the connections? As one travels and learns through trial and error, this process becomes easier and your skills sharpen through years of experience. While there’s no substitute for getting out there and learning from your own mistakes and successes, I’d like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned in my years on the road that I hope will help you with a head start on your music journey.

While I hope to share more experiences as this blog grows, there is on evening that stands out in my mind in my journey to learn about connecting with people and building an audience. Some years back, I was promoting a show in Ohio. Travelling to Ohio to fulfill these commitments was no small undertaking, and considering the extra travel and expenses, I was banking on CD sales to beef up my profit margin. After making the trek to Buckeye State, I was disappointed to learn that the show had not been promoted to the extent needed for a successful evening. The posters I sent the venue were never posted, and except for a small newspaper ad, no one in the area had any way to know about the show. When it rains, it pours, and as fate would have it, a major storm hit the area on the day of the show. Most of the people who might have attended stayed home out of the weather, and the show was surely going to be a flop. With hopes growing dimmer by the minute, I started to panic. However, drawing from the advice of mentors and my own experience, I determined that I must act fast if I were to going to be saved from a major financial setback. Marketing is about message and movement, so I jumped up from behind the merch table and began connecting with the folks seeking refuge from the storm outside by browsing the bookstore. I politely introduced myself, and to my surprise, many had heard about my performance, though they had not originally planned to attend. After making these connections and staying at the venue for longer than I had anticipated, I was able to sell all the CDs I had at my table. Though all hope seemed lost, I was able to salvage the evening through merch sales. This evening, along with countless others over my years of traveling, have taught me that while you need to have a good product to sell, human connection is the key to greater success in the music business.

Whether you are getting ready for a major tour or a set at your local farmer’s market, here’s some helpful hints to consider for increasing your success:

1. Promotion

First and foremost is the promotion of your event. If no one knows you are performing, how will they know to show up? There are many ways to promote your performances, both conventional and some that are less obvious. Posters, newspaper ads, and plugs on your own websites and newsletters are some of the most obvious ways to get the word. Being in touch with local media outlets, including local daytime TV programs and radio personalities who specialize in your type of music, will help promote your work. With social media becoming a prominent part of modern life, you promote your event via Facebook for little to no money as effectively you could through many more expensive outlets. Cultivating a strong social media presence is a must for success in the modern entertainment industry.

2. Show up early and stay late

Putting in the hours are key to success, and the music business is no exception. Show up early and establish good report with the venue staff, and a show a willingness to help. Being timely and easy to work with are marks of professionalism, and this makes the process easy for everyone involved. Being a pleasure to work with strengthens relationships and increases your chances of being asked back and good recommendations to other venues. Arriving early and staying late also allows you more time to connect with your audience. Audience members will be more likely to buy your merch and continue supporting you if you make them feel like you care (and if you don’t care, I’d suggest finding other work). If you are in a rush, experiences with audience members can easily turn sour, thus hurting your efforts. Allow yourself time to do your best work.

3. Workshops and Jamming

Being accessible is a key element of making connections that will lead to your continued involvement and success in the music. Workshops allow you to share your knowledge with up and comers seeking to hone their skills, but it allows gives fans new insight into what you do. A new understanding of your work may help gain you new followers. While the goal is to make money playing music, getting out and playing for fun with fans and potential collaborators builds connections that will allow you to keep coming back to events. Events are always eager book retuning “Fan Favorites,” and this is a good way get yourself in the good graces of fans and promoters alike.

4. Make friends

Building an audience and moving merch is much easier when you have plenty of friends in your corner. Establish a good relationship with venue owners and promoters before the event. Send them promotional material ahead of time and help promote their venue on your social media pages. Get to know the folks beforehand as well as you can, and it will be like meeting up with old friends by the time you make it to the venue. Being friends with writers and disk jockeys will also help spread the word, as they can get written promotional material in the front of the eyes of countless people who may otherwise miss you, and perhaps most importantly, get your music in the ears of radio listeners who can turn into fans and friends. Stop by radio stations that play your music when you’re in the area, and be sure to thank them for their support, both via written word and in-person visits. Cultivating meaningful friendship with other industry figures is critical for moving up in the music business.

5. Remember the bigger picture

While some events may not be the biggest money makers the day of, never lose sight of your larger goals. Working with venues large and small to provide them with a service that meets their needs will certainly help you continue your involvement with any scene, but remember, instant gratification seldom pays. As you build a following at venues, your ability to attract customers should eventually lead to a larger payout. Perhaps more importantly, if you can get your product in front of new people who will continue to support your efforts beyond that venue, that adds to the sustainability

6. Take names

If you have a way to get in touch with people once the book event is over, get as many contacts as you can. I would always recommend getting names and contacts from anyone that visits your record table and signing them up for your mailing lists. A presence in their email inbox will help you stay on their radar and keep them interested in your work. Giveaways are another good way to collect new contacts, while giving folks a thrill with the potential for winning a special prize.

7. Show Appreciation and Be Grateful

As you build an audience while working with venues, remember that your success is largely created by fans and venue owners. After a performance, it is always a kind gesture to thank as many people as you can. Send a thank you email to the new who have registered for your newsletter, and in case they missed it, offer them any special deals you were running at your performance, which could lead to more sales. In addition to fans, thank the people who worked your event. Tell venue owners and employees thank you in person, maybe drop them a handwritten thank you note later, and spread the love on social media. These are all great ways to leave a good impress for a return visit.

These tips are just the tip of the iceberg, but I hope these will help you in your journey down the road to success in the music business. Do you have a success story or a memorable experience selling merch you would love to share? Whether it’s about tricks you learned or tips on what NOT to do, I’d love to hear what works for you! If you’re serious about taking your CD to the next level and want to learn more beyond the bounds of this article, I’d love to chat about it with you!

The Jamboree Jitters!

Every year I get so excited as the Park Slope Bluegrass, Old-time Music Jamboree approaches! This year is no exception. We have a great family-friendly event planned for folks in the Brooklyn area. It’s so heartwarming to see all the kids come out to this event, some of them have instruments that are bigger than they are! But that doesn’t deter them one little bit, nosiree! We’re happy to support their efforts and encourage them to continue pursuing the bluegrass music that we all know and love.

Nora Brown

Nora Brown

So I’m thrilled to have 12-year old banjo champ, Nora Brown, performing as part of the Saturday evening concert lineup (9/16) which also includes Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys. Nora just took the blue ribbon at the Appalachian Stringband Festival and she is an amazingly talented performer. Reminds me of Hazel Dickens. You folks are in for a treat Saturday night! Plus Nora has graciously offered to lead a workshop earlier in the day geared to young banjo enthusiasts and I’m sure it will be a popular choice among event attendees.

We also have a special kid’s presentation from 3:15 to 4:15 that will include songwriting and a performance of that song by all those who attend the presentation! So bring your young ‘uns and enjoy a wonderful day on Saturday, Sept. 16th, at the Old Stone House located at 336 Third St. in Brooklyn. Click here to download the 2017 Schedule.  See you there!