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James Reams at Palisade Bluegrass & Roots Festival

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James Reams & The BarnstormersJames Reams & The Barnstormers, with special guest Blaine Sprouse on fiddle, will be performing at the Palisade Bluegrass and Roots Festival on Saturday, June 15th along with Justin Townes Earle, The Devil Makes Three, and Pokey LaFarge. The Bluegrass and Roots Festival kicks off June 15th in Palisade, Colorado. A bluegrass band that was nominated by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2002 as Emerging Artist of the Year, James Reams & The Barnstormers provide a contemporary take on traditional bluegrass; blending it with innovation and vitality to create their own branch on the “roots” tree. In a review of an early album by James Reams, fRoots (an international magazine that specializes in world music) declared, “Traditional music kept alive by a stylish performer… Powerful, emotional music that needs to be heard.”

Palisade is known as the Peach and Wine Capital of Colorado with the state’s greatest concentration of wineries, vineyards, and orchards making it an ideal location for a weekend music festival and getaway. The festival is held in Riverbend Park which is set among the stately cottonwoods along the banks of the Colorado River and situated against the backdrop of Mt. Garfield, the Bookcliffs, and the Grand Mesa. Featuring some of the best traditional and contemporary Americana musicians to the Grand Valley, you won’t want to miss this 3-day event.

Raised in eastern Kentucky but now living in Phoenix, James Reams puts a layer of desert grit over a solid base of traditional bluegrass music. His band treads the terrain where bluegrass, old-time, classic country and rockabilly meet in the night to swap stories. These are the sounds of the hills and hollers combined with the sounds of factories, railroad yards and honky tonks.

Here’s how the band is described by noted bluegrass authority Stephanie P. Ledgin in her book, Homegrown Music: Discovering Bluegrass (Praeger Publishers, 2004): “A plentiful selection of younger, emerging artists continues to grow in both traditional as well as progressive bluegrass camps. 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 Bill Monroe’s and the Stanley Brothers’.”

Their latest CD, One Foot in the Honky Tonk, made two Top Ten CDs of 2011 lists and had a single that charted nationally. Here are some reviews of their most recent CD (One Foot in the Honky Tonk):

Lonesome Road Review by Larry Stephens:
"[James Reams & the Barnstormers] have been around almost two decades, playing their own style of music. James’ music is hardcore traditional bluegrass and acoustic music. There’s no indication that he feels bound to the Monroe tradition and you’ll hear some old-time sound in his music, but if he isn’t in the same vein of coal with Monroe he’s certainly in the same coal mine."
Joe Ross, reviewer for Bluegrass Now and SPBGMA’s Bluegrass Music News:
“James Reams and the Barnstormers have built a solid reputation for lively, spirited, soulful, no-frills-added bluegrass with a nice mix of traditional numbers, covers and originals. Fronted by his rustic and rural lead vocals, they dish up exciting bluegrass in a classic old-school style of yesteryear…this album has plenty of songs that belong on today's jukeboxes and ipods.”
JP Tausig, Country Standard Time:
"With a voice like Del McCoury's, Reams has captured the feel of old honky-tonk jukebox music. ‘I Can't Settle Down’ is a great example of what Reams and the Barnstormers can do. ‘Snake Eyes’ is an original Reams tune about bad luck and gambling, with clean instrumentals and surprising harmonies on the chorus… Reams' style turns even this topic into a song you might dance to on a Saturday night.”

In honor of the band’s 20th anniversary, their Barnstormin' album is now available as a FREE download from John Lupton, of Country Standard Time, wrote this about the album: “The music on this disc features elements reminiscent of the sophisticated stylings of fellow Kentuckian Bill Monroe mixed with the old time, deep-hollow sound of the Stanley Brothers...This is hard-core bluegrass from down home.” The band’s next album — James Reams, Walter Hensley & The Barons of Bluegrass — was nominated by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2002 as a Recorded Event of the Year.

More information about the festival is available at All shows are General Admission lawn seating, so bring a chair, tarp or blanket to sit on. Palisade is just a short 5 to 15 minute drive from Grand Junction and Fruita. Riverbend Park is located at 451 Pendleton Street, Palisade, CO 81526. Directions: Take 36 ¼ Road, just south of Highway 6 and west of the Palisade High School. Maps available on the website under Contacts. Ticket prices vary depending on the package purchased. Pricing is listed on the website.

For more information about James Reams & The Barnstormers (including music clips) visit or

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