Catch up on what's happening with the band in this Fall, 2016 issue!
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Celebrating Melvin Goins -
A Bluegrass Olympian


I met Melvin and his brother, Ray, at a festival back east in 2001. Ray was already struggling with health issues and it was a rare treat to be at a festival where he was making one of his few appearances. Melvin was always so warm and inviting to up and coming bluegrass bands and I was blessed to get to know him on the festival circuit as my band, James Reams & The Barnstormers, started breaking into the larger festivals. I could sit for hours listening to his stories; sometimes it was hard to tear myself away and go perform!
He was a great songwriter and his talent went largely unrecognized by the industry. His song, Head of the Holler, appears on my “Troubled Times” album. I remember talking to him about including one of his original songs on the CD and he recommended that one as a good song for me. It has gone on to become one of the most requested songs we perform.

As a member of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, Melvin Goins was one of the originators and pioneers of bluegrass music. It was a privilege to interview him for my feature documentary, “Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass: Tales of the Early Days in Their Own Words.” His generation produced a whole cluster of characters. Along with peers like Jimmy Martin, Curly Seckler and JD Crowe, Melvin always told things just how they were. One of his earliest pieces of advice to me was  “Be honest in your dealings with people. Always play bluegrass with heart and soul and it’ll treat you right.” True words that were good for me then and still good for me now. He also told me never to eat “red” hotdogs because of the food coloring and perhaps that’s the reason for my healthy constitution!
One little known fact about Melvin is that he loved to emcee at festivals. He was hilarious when he got started on his observations on life and had the audience in stitches between band performances. I remember one time he was emceeing at a now defunct North Carolina festival and he was getting wound up about cell phones. He said, “I’m not impressed with new fangled technology. Take cell phones for example. One of the bad things about having a cell phone is you just push a button to hang up. When you’re angry, pushing a button isn’t near as satisfying as slamming the receiver down. I tried slamming down my cell phone and it broke into about a million pieces. Cheap durn plastic thing. ”
It was an honor to know and learn from this legend of bluegrass. I hope my generation can carry on the torch that was lit by pioneers like Melvin.

Catch James on TV!

Hope you had a chance to catch the live interview and performance from James Reams & The Barnstormers on AZTV's popular Morning Scramble bright and early in the morning on August 3rd. BUT just in case you missed it, you can watch it again and again on James' YouTube channel!

Host Sandy Moss is a bluegrass fan and had heard the band perform at the Prescott Bluegrass Festival. That's when she started contacting James about having the band on her segment of the show. The guys really livened things up around the studio with their wide-open performance of "Winsboro Cotton Mill Blues" and James' original song "Coal Dust in My Soul."

They also had a chance to chat a bit about the upcoming show at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), Phoenix's premier music venue, as well as share some insights about the new album, Rhyme & Season.

Being on live TV can be challenging and nerve-wracking, but the band looked calm, cool, and collected. When Sandy blurted out, "You guys rock!" and then asked James if that was okay to say to a bluegrass band, James quipped back..."You bet! I think we rock too!" And so do we, James!
James' love of bluegrass is evident in his constant attention to ways he can promote this music and raise awareness about its' multi-cultural and multi-generational aspects. His persistence has paid off with a new partnership between the Arizona Bluegrass Association (James is the Chairman) and the MIM. Working together, the ABA and the MIM promoters hope to bring more bluegrass musicians to the Phoenix metro-area and prove that bluegrass is alive and well in the Valley! James is also hoping to work out the details to promote bluegrass music workshops at the MIM specifically focused on engaging children. It's a win-win situation and it wouldn't be possible without the support of bluegrass-loving folks like you!
Check out this great video from Rhyme & Season featuring the song "Long Gone Out West Blues!"
James Reams & The Barnstormers were featured in the July, 2016 issue of the CBA Breakdown. Dave Barry interviewed James for his "Porch Talk" column and talked about James' career as well as the new album, Rhyme & Season. James chatted a bit about his connections to California and even provided a bit of advice for newcomers. Click HERE to read the article!
Only two more slots available for the 2016-2017 Concert Series. Contact James Reams today if your band will be coming through the Phoenix metro area in January or February!

Get Your Copy of "Pioneers" Today!

   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 the Pioneers of Bluegrass Music” 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. To read reviews or order your copy, just click HERE!



Do you have a complete set of James' CDs? If not, check out his website and read up on what reviewers had to say about the albums. Or click HERE to go to his Artist Page on CDBaby.

Some albums are no longer available and a few have limited copies left. James has made one of his out-of-print albums (Barnstormin') available as a FREE download from NoiseTrade. But once the others are gone, they're gone for good.

Don't delay and complete your collection today! Album information is available on the website.

JOIN the NY Bluegrass-Oldtime Digest

Click HERE to join this Yahoo Group. The NY Bluegrass-Oldtime Digest provides a forum for bluegrass fans and those involved in bluegrass located in the north east to share information about the music we love and catch up on the latest news.  Ø

JOIN the AZ Bluegrass-Oldtime Digest

Click HERE to join this Yahoo Group. The AZ Bluegrass-Oldtime Digest is a meeting place for people involved in or fans of bluegrass and old-time music in and around Arizona to discuss the music we love. Tell all your Arizona friends about us!  Ø
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In this issue:

Celebrating Melvin Goins
Morning Scramble TV Show
"Long Gone Out West" Video
Partnering with the MIM

CBA Porch Talk Article
R&R Productions Now Booking
"Pioneers of Bluegrass"
The James Reams CD Collection
Join Yahoo Bluegrass Groups

Rhyme & Season Reviews
Jamboree News
Upcoming Events Schedule

Association Memberships

Book NOW for 2016-17!

Contact 718-374-1086 OR to book James Reams & The Barnstormers for your festival, venue, concert series, or event.
Rhyme & Season is the newest album from James Reams & The Barnstormers. It features band members from both coasts as well as guest fiddler, the legendary Kenny Kosek. This album has received high-acclaim from reviewers, music critics, and listeners like you!
Buy Now

Reviewer's Comments


Donald Teplyske – Country Standard Time
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. [Read more...]

David Morris, award winning songwriter and journalist – Bluegrass Today
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.

Kevin Slick – Pow'r Pickin'
There's a lot to like about this album by James Reams & The Barnstormers. 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.

Mitch Finley – Inland Northwest Bluegrass Music Association, Spokane, WA
Oh boy, [Rhyme & Season] is one of the best bluegrass albums I’ve heard in a month of Sundays! It’s loaded with some of the best contemporary/ traditional bluegrass music you’re likely to hear this year or any year.

Al Shusterman, KCBL Radio, "Backroads Bluegrass" Program Host
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.

Tony Kamel – Wood & Wire 
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!

Brian McNeal – Prescription Bluegrass
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.

Barb Heller, NCPR Program Host for "String Fever"
Rhyme & Season’s ‘first song sucked me right in…I love the rockabilly sound of ‘Born to Roll.’ [James'] albums always tell a great story – that’s one of the things I’ve always liked about [his] music.

James is working on making the 2017 Jamboree a stellar event! It is with great pleasure that we announce the new home of the Jamboree:  The Old Stone House in Brooklyn! The folks at The Old Stone House are excited about bringing this IBMA nominated event to their hallowed grounds. We think it will be a great partnership and are looking forward to next year's event.

But we still need sponsors to make this "happy little festival" a success. Please contact James and let him know if you or your company would like to help promote this event. There are many levels of sponsorship, so we're bound to find one that fits every budget!

Upcoming Events!

July 21
Van Cortlandt Park
Brooklyn, NY

August 3
AZTV Morning Scramble
Prescott, AZ

August 20
Galivan Center
Salt Lake City, UT

September 11
MIM Music Theater
Phoenix, AZ

September 17
Pickin' in the Pines
Flagstaff, AZ

October 8
AZ Bluegrass Film Festival
Scottsdale, AZ

October 21-23
Logandale Bluegrass Festival
Moapa Valley, NV

For info on additional appearances,
 visit our website

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Copyright © 2016 Mountain Redbird Music, All rights reserved.

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