James Reams & The Barnstormers provide a contemporary take on traditional bluegrass; blending it with innovation and vitality to create their own branch on the “roots” tree. This band treads the terrain where bluegrass, old-time, classic country and folk meet in the night to swap stories. In a review of an early album by James Reams, fRoots (an international magazine that specializes in world music) declared “Traditional music kept alive by a stylish performer… Powerful, emotional music that needs to be heard.” Take a listen to their electronic press kit (http://www.jamesreams.com/electronic-press-kit/) and you’ll understand why Richard D. Smith (biographer for Bill Monroe) wrote in Bluegrass Unlimited: “There are few vocalists as natural as Reams. He doesn’t have to try to sound down-home, he’s there at each turn in the song.Û Check it out for yourself and watch a few of their recent music videos on the James Reams YouTube Channel.
James Reams & The Barnstormers deliver high-energy performances of traditional bluegrass music (including original songs) that are real crowd pleasers. Audiences are treated to brilliant fiddling matched by blazing banjo and mandolin pickin’ and smoking vocals from James that echo his heroes Lester Flatt, Carter Stanley, and Red Allen. These hardworking ‘ambassadors of bluegrass’, as one reviewer called them, deliver an edge missing from a lot of bluegrass today.
In fact, the band recently appeared live on WAMU Bluegrass Country (Washington DC) and the station had this to say about the bandÛªs performance: ÛÏYou and your boys gave a fantastic performance. It’s real Bluegrass, and no one can doubt that. But there’s that original edge, that energy. You might not realize it, my friend, but you are a punk rocker. You keep it real, because you care about the integrity of personal expression through music. If that ain’t Bluegrass, I don’t know what is.Û This kind of praise coming from a station that regularly hosts bands like Special Consensus, the Gibson Brothers, Sierra Hull, and really says something about the kind of music that James Reams & The Barnstormers deliver. Video from their studio performance is available on the WAMU YouTube Channel.