Like A Flowing River is a 2-Disc project from James Reams, guitarist, songwriter and long-time leader of his band, the Barnstormers. This outing includes songs from his many albums along with many of the songs included in his DVD, Like A Flowing River: A Bluegrass Passage, in which Reams relates his musical odyssey from his early years until the present.
Also included are many songs co-written with his music partner, the late Tina Aridas. A Kentucky native, Reams lived in New York City where in 1993 he formed the Barnstormers and created the “Park Slope Bluegrass Oldtime Music Jamboree,” a New York area favorite. Now residing in Arizona, Reams’ current band includes Billy Parker (mandolin), Evan Ward (banjo), Dan Meyer (bass), Michael Rolland (fiddle, mandolin, guitar), and Blaine Sprouse (fiddle). Two of Reams’ albums, “Wild Card” and “Barons Of Bluegrass” featured the late Walter Hensley, the “Banjo Baron Of Baltimore.”
Disc One, titled “Striking Fire,” is a fifteen-song selection from Reams’ various albums, and previously unreleased tunes, to include “Can’t Win Can’t Place Can’t Show,” “Freight Train Blues,” “Ain’t A Bump In The Road,” “I Caught A Keeper,” and “Orange Blossom Special.” The Reams-Aridas compositions are “Eye Of The Storm,” and “Cincinnati Southern.”
Disc Two titled “Divine Heart” is a sixteen-song mix also from Ream’s projects and includes previously unreleased tunes, “Kentucky Mountain,” and “Red Rocking Chair.” Reams-Aridas originals include “Kentucky River,” “Buffalo Creek Flood,” “Hills Of My County,” “Where No Heart Goes Hungry,” and “Crossing Jordan.” Reams’ songs are “Coal Dust In My Soul,” “River Rising,” and “Troubled Times.” There is also a bonus track “You Married My Daughter And Yet You Didn’t.”
Listening to this collection, one will understand why Reams has been nicknamed the “Ambassador Of Bluegrass,” as he and the band perform in a flawless traditional style of the music. Reams’ solid vocals are backed by the many studio artists who provide lots of instrumental and harmony accompaniment. The CD package includes a booklet with some vintage photos and song lyrics. This is a very nice project from Reams with an enjoyable cross section of his many years in the music.
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