Reviews are in…check ’em out!
“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, music reviewer, 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.”
– David Morris, award winning songwriter and journalist for Bluegrass Today
“There’s a lot to like about this album by James Reams & The Barnstormers. There’s an excellent balance between top notch playing and an easy going feeling. One listen and you can hear these are some great pickers, there’s brilliant solos but it never sounds like showing off or just playing fast for the sake of speed. [And] this album proves that you can write bluegrass songs about this day and age…songs that might come from the front page instead of a history book.”
– Kevin Slick, reviewer, Pow’r Pickin’
“[James Reams’] Rhyme & Season album is truly strong and unique [featuring] great songs and splendid banjo.”– Craig Havighurst, Roots Radio Music News
“Veteran bandleader James Reams explores a nomadic theme on his new concept album [Rhyme & Season]…those who enjoy their bluegrass with organic timing and a loose, natural feel should enjoy this record.”– Nancy Cardwell, Bluegrass Unlimited
“We can all be thankful that James Reams’ life storms converged to give birth, and rebirth, to the collection of songs called ‘Rhyme & Season’. The journey has been his but we are the lucky recipients.”
– From the liner notes by Gary Reid, noted bluegrass author/record producer
and winner of IBMA Media Person of the Year in 2015
“It amazes me how [James Reams] can continually raise the bar with each project. The lyrics of each song [from Rhyme & Season] fit him like a glove and the instrumental [portion] of the project was superb!”– Al Shusterman, “Backroads Bluegrass” program host for KCBL Radio
“Rhyme & Season, from the dual coast performer, celebrates the perpetual pilgrim living within us all – bluegrass, old-time and folk. Good stuff from award winning Reams and his Barnstormers.”– Greg Tutwiler, Reviewer for Americana Rhythm Music Magazine
“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, Reviewer for Inland Northwest Bluegrass Music Association
“Listening to James Reams on Rhyme & Season is as comfortable as returning home after being away. But that sentiment belies the more serious and sincere undercurrent running throught the album. The album definitely has the James Reams ‘stamp’. This album is a credit to his existence.”
– Brian McNeal, Prescription Bluegrass Media
“[Rhyme & Season] just flows with bluegrass punch.”
– Brenda Hough, California Bluegrass Association
Ranked in Top 100 Contemporary Bluegrass Albums for 2016– Roots Music Report
This album represents something James has wanted to do for a long time. It’s a concept album that tells a lot about his own personal journey while connecting with the journeys of so many across the US. Rhyme & Season includes a nice mix of uptempo songs and ballads plus an a cappella song as well as a breakneck instrumental that’ll have you gasping for breath. James guarantees there’s something to please everyone on this album!
Though Rhyme & Season features band members from both coasts, James’ signature vocal style and masterful rhythm guitar provides continuity from one song to the next. The east coast contingent includes: Mark Farrell on mandolin and vocals, Doug Nicolaisen on banjo, Nick Sullivan on bass and vocals and features special guest, Kenny Kosek on fiddle. The west coast band members include: Billy Parker on mandolin and vocals, Evan Ward on banjo and vocals, Dan Meyer on bass, Michael Rolland on fiddle as well as Tyler James on banjo and special guest, Dick Brown on vocals.
Noted author and record producer, Gary Reid, provided the liner notes for this latest album. Click HERE to view the booklet that accompanies the CD and read the liner notes.
Here’s a “behind the scenes” description from James about some of the songs he included on Rhyme & Season. For more information, James provides “Behind the Songs” for a song by song description of what led him to include these songs on the album. To listen to short music clips, click HERE. Videos for several of the songs are available on YouTube.
“Though I’m not proud of it, I spent some time as a homeless teenager. Having decided to take off on my own, I left home and family for parts unknown. Two of the songs on Rhyme & Season relate to that period of my life, “Songbird” and “$100 Funeral.” I felt that “Songbird” captured the tension a parent might feel when their child takes off on his own before it’s time to leave the nest. They want him to be free and yet they want to protect him at the same time. But sometimes that freedom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The song “$100 Funeral” hits me pretty hard. I remember waking up one morning at a shelter where I was staying to find the lifeless body of an elderly man lying on the bunk below mine. That experience led me to go back home again.
The a cappella song “Lord, Lead the Way” that I co-wrote and arranged traces the journey I’ve made from the mind-numbing loss of direction in my life when Tina died to getting my feet back on solid ground and finding my way again. I couldn’t have done it without the Lord’s help and now I hope to reach out and help others.”
It’s James’ dream that Rhyme & Season will help raise awareness about the different faces of the homeless in our nation. To that end, he will be contributing a portion of the proceeds from the album sales to a local charity in Phoenix, Circle the City, that provides medical respite care for homeless veterans and others who have no place to go once they are released from the hospital. Click HERE for more information about the connection between Rhyme & Season and the homeless.To find out more about homelessness in the US and how you can be a part of the solution, check out the National Coalition for the Homeless website.
Most of the songs on Rhyme & Season celebrate the free and independent spirit that lives within all of us and especially flourishes in folks like truck drivers, train hoppers, and wanderers. Overall, it’s an upbeat album that speaks of hope and encourages tolerance and understanding of those who choose to be homeless or have it thrust upon them. Rhyme & Season is available on CDBaby and other online sources NOW!