James Reams & The Barnstormers: One Foot In The Honky Tonk

Stephanie P. Ledgin wrote in her book, Homegrown Music: Discovering Bluegrass (Praeger Publishers, 2004), “James Reams & The Barnstormers rely on early country material and originals written in authentic style. The results are a virtual history of the music and its roots, played in a clean, heartfelt manner that is somewhere between Monroe’s and the Stanleys’.” And Richard D. Smith 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.”

This band plays traditional bluegrass music with an old-time country edge and a sound that’s very much their own. It features driving rhythm and hard-edged harmonies that take you back to a time before bluegrass was smoothed out for the uninitiated, the ill-prepared or the faint of heart. The band includes James on guitar and lead vocals; Mark Farrell on mandolin, fiddle and harmony vocals; Nick Sullivan on upright bass and harmony vocals and Doug Nicolaisen on banjo. Kenny Kosek on fiddle and Barry Mitterhoff on mandolin are featured on selected tracks.

“In The Corner At The Table By The Jukebox”

“One Foot In Honky Tonk”
“Cornbread, Molasses and Sassafras Tea”
“Almost Hear The Blues”
“Susquehanna Getaway”
“City That Lies Foursquare”
“Bailing Again”
“Goin’ Home”
“Snake Eyes”
“Florida Blues”
“I Can’t Settle Down” “In The Corner At The Table By The Jukebox”
“Rocky Creek”
“River Rising”
“King Of The Blues”

I really enjoyed this album. Jim Reams and The Barnstormers prove to be excellent musicians and a truly fine traditional Bluegrass band as usual. They are definitely “old school bluegrass.” I especially enjoyed the vocals on “One Foot In Honky Tonk,” “Almost Hear The Blues,” “Florida Blues,” but the instrumentals are also excellent. I enjoyed, “Snake Eyes,” “Rocky Creek,” and “Passamaquoddy” as well. It is almost rare to enjoy an entire album these days, but this is the case with this album by Jim Reams – a job well done, and highly recommended!

Steve Brandt

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