Roots Song of the Week- featuring James Reams & the Barnstormers   Leave a comment

ReamsThis week’s Roots Song of the Week is not a single song. I would like to join the bluegrass community in celebrating the release of James Reams’ long anticipated DVD production Making History with  Pioneers of Bluegrass. (I wish I could share how great the movie is, but my copy hasn’t yet arrived…I have now been hopelessly disappointed daily for the last two weeks, but I know it will get here soon.)

We first heard of The Early Days of Bluegrass several years ago when James included a sampler within the packaging of his magnificent Troubled Times album. As James freely admits, the journey toward fruition of this project has been much delayed. However, during the past year James has managed to finish the project with the assistance of supporters through a modest Kickstarter campaign. The DVD was released July 22, but I’ve held off for my copies to arrive…but, thought I needed to write about it today.

Below is the press release information, followed by links to this week’s Roots Songs of the Week:

After 11 years in the making the DVD documentary “Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass: Tales of the Early Days in Their Own Words” has been released. This labor of love went through a whole gamut of production interruptions, any one of which would have stopped a less dedicated producer. When James decided to start shooting at the Grand Opening of the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY, [in 2002] he had no idea that over the next decade he would suffer many personal losses including the death of his long time partner Tina Aridas, his early collaborator Walter Hensley, and most recently, his mother, before the film was finally completed. In the process, computer glitches resulted in clips being lost or having to be re-edited to the point that funds finally ran out on the project.

When it looked like these interviews would never see the light of day, James decided to send out an appeal through Kickstarter to generate the final funding to “git ‘er done!” And you came through for him. The modest funding goal was reached, final editing completed, and now…drum roll, please…the film is only available for purchase online through CD Baby, by mail order to James Reams (click here for the order form) or from the gift shop at the International Bluegrass Music Museum. Don’t wait…get your copy today!


To mark the release of this movie, featuring interviews with some of the pioneers of bluegrass- Jimmy Martin, Art Stamper, Mac Wiseman, Kenny Baker, and more- I’d like to feature a few songs from James Reams and the Barnstormers.

At James’ website, he has four audio files for sharing, including the original number “River Rising,” Stonewall Jackson’s “You Can Almost Hear the Blues,” the gospel song “City That Sits Foursquare” and the instrumental “Rocky Creek.” You can find all those songs right here. Additionally, there are several recent video clips featuring the Arizona-based Barnstormers including “You Can Almost Hear the Blues” and “Roanoke.”

I appreciate James Reams’ music and his devotion to the early days of bluegrass. I highly recommend all of his albums, especially One Foot In the Honky Tonk.

BTW, I’m now on Twitter, @FervorCoulee. I have no idea what to do with it.

Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald


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