Mountain Redbird Music

Veteran bandleader James Reams explores a nomadic theme on his new concept album with songs about the “perpetual pilgrim” in most of us who thirst for adventure and travel at some time in our lives. The other side of the coin is revealed with songs about individuals who have ended up homeless wanderers through no wish of their own.

“Born To Roll” is the story of a truck driver, content to live a life in constant motion. “Special” is written from the perspective of a railroad hobo, drawn to the sound of train whistle that keeps him movin’ on down the line. “Acre By Acre” explores the loss of a family legacy after 70 years and three generations of farmers. The up tempo, bluegrass “I Am A Stranger Here” looks at life through the eyes of a homeless man. “Angel Of The Evening” is a dance-hall girl, the queen of the lonely souls who follow her around. The narrator in “Rough Around The Edges” is struggling with alcohol addiction, with the devil reachin’ for his soul.

The lonesome “$100 Funeral” is  about the aftermath of a pauper’s death. “Major Breakdown” is a quick-paced instrumental, and the a cappella “Lord, Lead The Way,” punctuated by finger snaps and an occasional bass line, was co-written by Reams. He also co-wrote “Long Gone Out West Blues,” about the times in life when the only thing to do is to simply get out of town and soak up some new scenery. The protagonist in “Songbird” is a young person leaving home, anxious to spread his wings, but focuses on the sigh of the ones left behind.

James, on guitar, is joined by two groups of band members—one on the East Coast and one out West. Mark Farrell, Doug Nicolaisen, Nick Sullivan, and Reams make up the Barnstormers in New York. Billy Parker, Evan Ward, Dick Brown, Dan Meyer, and Michael Rolland back up James in Arizona. A portion of proceeds from the album will go to Circle The City, an organization that provides medical care for the homeless in Arizona. Friends and longtime fans of Reams’ music, along with those who enjoy their bluegrass with organic timing and a loose, proudly unpolished, natural feel should enjoy this record. (www.jamesreams.com)NC

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