You could have knocked me over with a feather when one of the owners of MediaSmith, a video and photography company in Phoenix, approached me about being the subject of a feature-length documentary. After getting over my initial shock, I asked the question that is probably on all of your lips…”Why me?” It seems that I had made an impression on them when we worked together over the last couple of years. As we talked, bits and pieces of my story worked their way into our conversations. It has long been their dream to create a full-length movie that would showcase their abilities as filmmakers and my story intrigued them.
Having worked with me before, they figured that I was an easy going guy who would be fun to work with again, plus I had some knowledge about documentaries having produced 2 myself. They convinced me that I have a story worth telling, a story that might in some way inspire others to realize their dreams. So, we obtained licensing for the music, arranged interviews, hired additional film crews and sound technicians and set to work on the script. We’ll be filming for the better part of 2017 and then begin the tedious process of film editing and mixing. It’s our hope to have the documentary ready for release by mid-2018 to coincide with my 25th anniversary as a bandleader.
We’ve launched a modest Kickstarter campaign to help raise additional funds to complete and distribute the film. I do hope you’ll consider supporting this project. Check out the teaser video on the Kickstarter site!
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!
I want to let you know about a charity event that I will be participating in this December. It’s called the Cure GM1 Charity Concert. The folks that have organized this event, and some of those participating in it, have young children that have been diagnosed with a rare, and fatal, disease called GM1. Those living with GM1 must watch as their children lose the ability to walk, stand, speak, even swallow. Their vibrant lives are cut drastically short. But there is good news. A cure may be on the horizon thanks to promising research from Auburn and UMass Medical Schools. All that’s lacking to gain FDA approval is the required testing. I know that you can’t all drive down to Tucson, AZ and support this fundraising effort, but you can donate online. Please consider the Cure GM1 Foundation as you plan your holiday giving. Every little bit helps move them closer to possibly having a cure by 2017. Thank you and God bless.
Hi folks! I just got back from the 2016 World of Bluegrass conference. What a week! I’m planning to share more of the happenings with you in the upcoming Barnstormer Newsletter next month but thought you might like a sneak peek!
The highlight of the week was, of course, the IBMA award show. Hobnobbing with Bluegrass Unlimited’s Kitsy Kuykendall, bluegrass legend Ronnie Reno, my buddy Larry Stephenson of the Larry Stephenson Band, as well as all the good folks from Bluegrass Today before the show was so much fun. But I had no idea what an emotional experience was in store when I arrived that evening. You could have knocked me and a whole bunch of other folks over with a feather when my dear friend, Danny Paisley’s name was called as the Male Vocalist of the Year. I’ve known Danny for just about his whole career. We’ve played at the same festivals, clawing for every scrap of meat off the bluegrass bone we could get. It brought tears to my eyes and to those around me, to see him stand up there, obviously shaken, and accept his award. And he certainly deserved the win. Wow! What a thrill!! Congratulations Danny…you are an inspiration to us all!
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.
CBA Porch Talk with Dave Berry 7-16
The Good Ole Coffeehouse at the Old Stone House in Brooklyn was packed this past weekend as we rolled out our new album, Rhyme & Season. It was a great time for all of us and wonderful to hear stories about seeing the band in the early years and even about catching one of my solo performances before there even was a band! The night was filled with lots of laughter and joy as we celebrated the CD release with food, friends, fun, and – of course! – fantastic music. Musician friends who played with the Barnstormers in the past and promoters all agreed there’s something special about this longtime band of friends and I couldn’t agree more! Thanks to everyone who came out to help us celebrate!
Releasing a concept album unleashes a whole lot of questions from listeners…and that’s a good thing! Many of you have wanted to know why I chose the songs that appeared on my new album “Rhyme & Season.” Others, mostly reviewers, wanted to know why I called the album “Rhyme & Season.” And lately I’ve been getting more questions about the homeless and how you can get involved. THAT’S music to my ears!!
I’ve sent out six announcements that delve into the reasons for each song choice as well as the reason for the album. In case you missed any of them, I’ve posted them on the website under Recordings>Rhyme & Season>Behind the Songs. You’ll also find the lyrics and the names of bandmates that were featured on each song.
I love receiving your comments and hope that you’ll let me know how this collection of songs moved you. You can email me at email@example.com.
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