“My intention is to embrace a wide range of human emotion from happiness and love to loss and sorrow, and over it all to express the hope I feel about the future. As I listened to some old gems, I was once again amazed at the depth that bluegrass music brings to understanding the human character. These songs inspired me to add my own contribution to the album in the form of original material that touches on similar issues affecting our world today.” So speaks seasoned bandleader James Reams about the album, to be titled Rhyme & Season, which he is working on at the moment.
With his last album, One Foot in the Honky Tonk, released way back in 2011, a new album from Reams is clearly overdue. Originally from southeast Kentucky, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona, from Brooklyn, New York, about that time. In February 2011 Reams lost his long-time partner and strong advocate Tina Aridas. Naturally, Reams has taken his time before considering a new album. It is good to know that he actively working on a successor to One Foot in the Honky Tonk.
We spoke to James Reams to learn more …..
I understand that there is a theme to the collection of songs that you have selected for Rhyme & Season. Please tell me about that.
“The theme of Rhyme & Season is the different journeys that we take in life. While I’ve written songs in the past about places and even tragic events that resonated with me, I haven’t really shared anything extremely personal. After much soul searching, I felt compelled to gather material that described some of different roads we travel, especially those detours that seem so senseless (the title for the album is a play on the phrase “rhyme and reason”). I also wanted to include songs that reflected the different seasons of my own life including the carefree spirit of youth and a period of being homeless myself as well as the grief experienced from the loss of a loved one. In fact, this will be my first album after the death of my partner, Tina Aridas.”
From where have those songs come (who are the song-writers) and what prompted you to pick them?
“Rhyme & Season will include reprisals of songs by such well-known artists Blaze Foley, Norma Jean and a little-known Lester Flatt piece. Collected together, these lesser-known gems and new songs that I wrote specifically for this album, present the seasons of a wanderers’ life with a bluegrass twist. Bluegrassers just have a knack for making the best of a bad situation, that’s one of the things I love about this music. So Rhyme & Season will feature a nice mix of upbeat, toe-tapping songs as well as ballads that pluck at our heartstrings.”
Reams also tells us that he has chosen the Arizona branch of Circle the City, a Phoenix-based charity founded in 2012 that provides medical relief centers for homeless persons who are too ill or frail to recover from illness or injury on the streets or in a shelter, but are not quite sick enough to remain in a hospital. This is a very apt choice considering Reams’ desire to help the homeless.
A Kickstarter Campaign is underway to help offset some of the costs of producing the album. More information about the project can be found by clicking on the Kickstarter link
The video there contains a teaser for one of the songs on the album.
The release date for Rhyme & Season is targeted for just prior to Thanksgiving Day, to coincide with the National Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week.