Catch up on what's happening with the band in this Winter, 2016 issue!
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IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year - Danny Paisley

2016 World of Bluegrass Blew My Socks Off!

   I always have such a great time at the IBMA World of Bluegrass conference, but this year the excitement actually started before I even got there. It was an airport to airport experience!
   I arrived at the Phoenix airport to find Darby Brandli, President of the California Bluegrass Association, and Michael Hall, President of the Northern California Bluegrass Society and Chairman of the IBMA Film Festival Committee (of which I was a member), waiting for their connecting flight to Raleigh…which also happened to be my flight! Michael and I sat together for the cross-country flight and chatted about the upcoming Arizona Bluegrass Showdown and Film Festival as well as the films that would be presented at the conference. Small world.
   Once we touched down in Raleigh, it was obvious that the city was buzzing with bluegrass. I was greeted at the airport by a display about the bluegrass music happenings in Raleigh that week, the car service I used knew all about the event, and even the hotel was giving bluegrassers VIP treatment!
   After checking in, I took a little walk and wouldn’t you know the first person I ran into was Steve Martin!! No, not the wild and crazy guy, but the popular webcaster for Unreal Bluegrass. We got into some great discussions about homelessness and my new album, Rhyme & Season’s focus on the disenfranchised and marginalized. As an attorney, he shared some of his encounters about intervening on behalf of runaways. Steve and I stopped in at The Pit for some of their world famous BBQ and seated at the table next to us was IBMA Hall of Famer, Dave Freeman, from Rebel Records. So we shook somewhat barbecuey hands and swapped CDs. Nothing brings bluegrass folks together like good BBQ!
   That night I attended a special cocktail party for Leadership Bluegrass alumni held on the top floor of the PNC Bank building overlooking the city. It was a magical evening filled with conversations about bluegrass music…my favorite topic! I chatted with Rounder Records and Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductees Ken Irwin, Bill Nowlin and Marian Levy, as well as folks from all across the world that are influencing our music.
   The next morning, I was up bright and early to participate on the panel with Daniel Roth (Nu-Blu) and Joe Newberry (singer-songwriter and award winning musician) for a conference workshop called “Booking Yourself Without an Agent.” The room was packed with the members of new bands and we were so glad to have Nancy Cardwell (former IBMA Executive Director) on hand to offer support. Hands were shooting up everywhere as we were peppered with questions. What resulted was an amazing discussion about how to keep your band active and growing.
   The keynote address for the conference was delivered on Tuesday afternoon by a Leadership Bluegrass classmate, Marian Leighton-Levy, co-founder of Rounder Records and 2016 inductee into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame. She knocked it out of the park and sent the bluegrass world a strong message, “If music doesn’t discriminate, why should we?” I sure hope the IBMA posts her speech on social media, it was so inspiring and is something no bluegrasser should miss.
   Seems like everywhere I went, I kept running into folks I knew. Kyle Cantrell, of Sirius Radio, pulled himself away from his “groupies” to say, “Hey, I know you!” Paul Schiminger, IBMA’s new Executive Director, kept waving at me like a maniac every time we saw each other. We really connected at Leadership Bluegrass this year. And my carved wooden fridge magnets that I brought along to give away were as sought after as Olympic pins! Joe Mullins, winner of the 2016 IBMA Broadcaster of the Year award, even traded me his hand sanitizer for one!
   The Momentum Awards Banquet was especially exciting. I shared a table with the Arizona contingent including Bonnie Williams and Ben & Helen Sandoval and just about popped a button when Brad Kolodner picked up the award for Industry Involvement. I really got to know Brad when he and his father performed last year as part of a concert series that I promote in the Phoenix metro-area.
   As always, the real highlight of the week was 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 for me 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!!
   Heading for home after an exhausting week, I was standing in line waiting to board my flight, when I glanced back over my shoulder and did a quick double-take. There sat a long-time idol of mine, Marty Stuart and the rest of the Superlatives. Well, I confess, I did what any self-disrespecting groupie would do and quickly pulled out my phone to take a selfie with the legend (unfortunately, all you can see of me is my shoulder!). I scrounged up the guts to hand him one of the 2 remaining copies of my new album, Rhyme & Season, and mumbled something about including one of his great songs “Rough Around the Edges” on the album, before I hurried back to the line to board the flight. Because of my long legs, I usually sit in the bulkhead and sure was shocked when Marty and the rest of the band boarded the same plane a bit later. I had a chance to chat with Marty several times during the flight. As we joked and kidded around about the music business, I felt like I was in heaven (especially with the clouds floating by the windows!).
   The IBMA World of Bluegrass is all about connections… family connections with the world-wide family of bluegrassers. I pray that I’ll be back again for next year’s family reunion and hope to see you there too! Ø

Lookin' Over My Shoulder

   2016 was an incredible year that was full of milestones for the band. After many years getting established in the southwest with the west coast Barnstormers, we finally earned invitations to perform at such prestigious venues as the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix and the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City. The MIM is ranked in the top 20 museums in the US and is listed as TripAdvisor’s #1 recommended destination for travelers to the Phoenix area. And the Gallivan Center in SLC has hosted performances from the Who’s Who in the music world including Adele, Willie Nelson, and BB King. The west coast band also made it's first TV debut on AZTV's Morning Scramble.
    Festival highlights on the west coast included the Tucson Folk Festival, Flagstaff’s Pickin’ in the Pines and Phoenix' first bluegrass festival at Porter Barn Wood. And the east coast band was delighted to be asked back at a couple of our favorite festivals: Wind Gap and Smoked Country Jam.
    Of course, the biggest news of 2016 was the release of our newest album, Rhyme & Season, featuring band members from both coasts. The Old Stone House in Brooklyn hosted our album release party and we loved every minute of it! This concept album continues to rack up praise from listeners and reviewers alike. Most recently, Donald Teplyske of Country Standard Time, commented about the IBMA nominees for Album of the Year “My Top 5 would have included some combination of The SteelDrivers, Big Country Bluegrass, Dale Ann Bradley, James Reams & the Barnstormers, Jeff White, the Kathy Kallick Band, Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands, Sister Sadie, Ron Block, and The Hillbenders.” I’m certainly proud to be included in that company!
    I fulfilled a personal goal this year by being accepted into the IBMA Leadership Bluegrass program. What a terrific experience! I just can’t say enough good things about it and am so thrilled to be numbered among the alumni for this wonderful program.
    Change is inevitable, and I sure was sad to say goodbye to long-time Barnstormer bassist, Nick Sullivan, who moved to Spain in September. I’m hoping to reunite with him for a bluegrass tour “across the pond.” The good news is that an original member of the east coast Barnstormers, Carl Hayano, has agreed to step in for Nick. It’s great to have Carl back on board! The west coast band continues to gel and I’m thrilled that super-talented banjoist, Evan Ward, and hotshot fiddler, Michael Rolland, joined the group this year. Based on the ovations we received and encores we performed in 2016, I think we’re sounding mighty fine to folks.
    So what’s on the horizon for James Reams & The Barnstormers? I’ll be the first to tell you that I have no idea! I just hope to keep on making great music, writing songs, and promoting all things bluegrass…Lord willin’ and the creeks don’t rise! Ø

e-Shop and Save!

 Did you know that there's a whole line of items from T-shirts and flipflops to embroidered baseball caps to chambray workshirts featuring the logo of your favorite bluegrass band! And what bluegrass lover doesn't enjoy waking up in the morning to a nice hot cup of coffee? Well, now that coffee can be served in a mug or travel mug that lets everyone know you're into bluegrass and especially James Reams & The Barnstormers brand of bluegrass!
  In fact, we challenge you to buy several travel mugs, fill them with gift cards to a local coffee shop and pass them out to those who are homeless. There are over 400 items to choose from at the James Reams Market (powered by CafePress). Skip the crowded malls and let your imagination and your generosity run wild at the James Reams Market! Ø

We've Got Your Stocking Stuffers Right Here!

 Halloween is barely cold in its grave and the holiday shopping frenzy is already in full force. If you're budget is tight this year, don't forget that James has made his out-of-print CD, "Barnstormin" available as a FREE download from NoiseTrade. We encourage you to share the link with your friends and family when you send out holiday greetings - the gift is on us! The DVD documentary "Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass" would be a welcome addition to any school or bluegrass historian's library and can be ordered easily from our website or CDBaby. Check out the website for more information about the DVD and other CDs from James Reams. And remember those who might be forgotten with the gift of music to local nursing homes, veteran's hospitals, and teachers! Ø
The 2016-2017 Concert Series is fully booked and it's gonna be a great season!
  • Nov. 3rd - Sideline
  • Jan. 5th - Edgar Loudermilk
  • Mar. 3rd - Larry Stephenson Band
Contact James Reams if your band will be coming through the Phoenix metro area next year!
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In this issue:

World of Bluegrass Update
Lookin' Over My Shoulder

e-Shop and Save!
Stocking Stuffers
R&R Productions 2016-17 Concert Series

Peace on Earth
Rhyme & Season Reviews
Jamboree News
Upcoming Events Schedule

Association Memberships
Join Yahoo Bluegrass Groups
Peace On Earth

In these troubled times, my greatest desire is for each of us to experience peace on earth, even if it's only for a moment. What might that be like? As the world holds its' breath there would be no gunfire, no crying children, no angry words, no sighs of despair. Maybe with enough practice, we can stretch that peace so that it lasts longer and longer each time.

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.

Nancy Cardwell - Bluegrass Unlimited
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.

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. Help us keep our family-friendly ticket prices! Please contact James and let him know if you or your company would like to help promote this event. A new program is in the works that will prominently feature our sponsors. There are many levels of sponsorship, so we're bound to find one that fits every budget! Ø

Upcoming Events!

October 8
AZ Bluegrass Film Festival
Scottsdale, AZ

October 21-23
Logandale Bluegrass Festival
Moapa Valley, NV

November 5
Porter Barn Wood Bluegrass Festival
Phoenix, AZ

December 10
Vail Theatre of the Arts
Tucson, AZ

For info on additional appearances,
 visit our website

Member of:

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

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
Copyright © 2016 Mountain Redbird Music, All rights reserved.

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