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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Wow! We’re barely into the new year and I’m already overwhelmed by all the great happenings coming up just in the first quarter! We’ll be laying down the final tracks for the new album in February and shooting for a street date in late March. Also, I just got word that I’ve been accepted into the IBMA Leadership Bluegrass Class of 2016…what an honor!
AND, to top off this first quarter of the new year, I’ll be having a BIG birthday celebration on January 10th. No, I’m not telling you just how big, but believe me when I say it’s a big one! So in honor of all the great stuff going on, I hope you’ll give your local bluegrass DJ a call and ask them to play a song by yours truly to help me celebrate! It’s certainly the best gift for a musician!!
As I walk around in shirt sleeves and sandals, I’m reminded how blessed I am to be here in sunny Arizona and to be doing what I love the most…making music. The new album is in it’s final stages and I just get more excited each time we complete another song. Life is indeed good and I have so much to be thankful for, including all of you! I hope and pray that you and your loved ones have a safe, wonder-filled and peaceful holiday season.
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.
Mother’s Day invites us to honor the strength and courage of mothers past and present. Not so long ago, mothers held their little ones close and offered hope for the future as the family farm fell to the auctioneer’s hammer. Today, homeless mothers and their children litter our streets in a scenario that hasn’t changed much in a hundred years. Mothers are still the glue that holds families together.
This Mother’s Day I hope you’ll request your favorite DJ to play a song I wrote called “Troubled Times,” the title track from my CD of the same name. This song embodies the faith and love of mothers everywhere when faced with hard times. The lyrics are just as true today as more and more families become homeless due to foreclosures.
I am continuing to prep material for my newest album, Rhyme & Season, which I hope will raise awareness about those who are homeless…but I need your help. If you haven’t already contributed to the Kickstarter Campaign, please listen to “Troubled Times” available for a short time on my website. This heartfelt song represents just one of the stories of the homeless. I hope you’ll help me tell a few more.