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Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass Funded with Kickstarter

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Pioneers of Bluegrass MusicA big "Thank You!" to everyone who donated to the Kickstarter Campaign for the DVD documentary Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass: Tales of the Early Days in Their Own Words. We couldn't have done it without your help! DJs and media from everywhere pitched in to help us spread the word. Donations were received from all over the world. The campaign was successfully completed in October and funded in November. Post-production has started and we plan to release the documentary by mid-2013. Those of you who contributed at the $25 level and higher will receive copies of the DVD as soon as it is completed.

The brainstorm of James Reams and his late partner, Tina Aridas, the DVD documentary Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass got started back in 2002 at the grand opening of the International Bluegrass Music Museum. This labor of love was shot with minimal equipment on tour buses, backstage before performances, and even on front porches. The plan was to make the viewer feel like they are sitting right there with these bluegrass greats just shooting the breeze.

It is with a sad heart that we learned of the passing of one of the Pioneers of Bluegrass that was interviewed for the documentary, Walter Hensley. Perhaps one of the greatest banjo pickers ever, Walter earned the nickname "Banjo Baron of Baltimore." If there was a roster of the most influential and innovative banjo players in bluegrass history, Walt would be on it. We feel fortunate to have preserved his memory and legacy on the DVD along with so many other legends of bluegrass.

The film includes behind the scenes interviews with Jimmy Martin, Melvin Goins, Kenny Baker, Bobby Osborne, Bill Yates, Curly Seckler and many others who helped create bluegrass music. Time after time, these pioneers stated that one man didn’t create this genre, it was born from the dedication of many old time musicians that took their licks and gave them right back again in the form of their music. Like Eddie Adcock so “eloquently” puts it in the film, “Most bluegrass musicians, even though we’re eating sardines and Vienna sausages, we always thought we’d make it someday.”

“Back when we were playing, we didn’t realize that we were making history, but we were.”
~ Art Stamper, from Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass.

Many of those interviewed volunteered words of wisdom for the up and coming bluegrass artists of the future, including J.D. Crowe’s sage advice “Go back and learn it from the start, learn where it came from, learn that first. That’s where it is. That’s where it all happens.”

And that’s precisely what this film does. It provides a medium for die hard bluegrass fans and those new to the music to connect with these bluegrass trailblazers — to learn where the music came from. Many of those in this documentary have since passed away; their interviews here representing their final filmed appearance and a vital piece of the history of bluegrass. This simple, yet highly personal, documentary provides a link to the past rarely experienced in today’s modern video productions.

Bluegrass fans who wish to purchase the "Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass" when it's available will find copies for sale on CDBaby along with six other CDs from James Reams including: "The Mysterious Redbirds" from 1998, "The Blackest Crow" (2000), "James Reams & Walter Hensley and the Barons of Bluegrass" (2002) - this album received an IBMA nomination, "Troubled Times" 2 CD set with DVD "Rollin' On" (2005), "Wild Card" featuring Walter Hensley (2006) and "One Foot In the Honky Tonk" (2011). Unlike MP3s, these CDs wrap up nicely for holiday gifts!

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