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James Reams

A Tribute to the Banjo Baron of Bluegrass, Walter Hensley 1936-2012

James Reams with Walter HensleyWalter Hensley, legengary bluegrass banjo player, passed away Sunday, November 25th.
By James Reams
Walt and I met in the early 1990s at a bluegrass festival in Groveton, NH. The festival was being held at a Speedway and at night, they would stop the music so the cars could race. I walked up to Vernon McIntyre's bus one evening looking for somebody to pick with and knocked on the door. When I walked in, there was Walter sitting there on the bus with Vernon, smoking a cigarette and looking for all the world just like a confederate soldier. When I asked him why he hadn't recorded in a number of years and he said "No one’s willin’ to work as hard as I’d like them to!" I told him that I'd have as many rehearsals as he felt necessary to get a project done and we recorded James Reams, Walter Hensley & The Barons of Bluegrass. When I found out that the album was nominated for IBMA's Bluegrass Recording Event of the Year in 2002, I called up Walter. He asked, "Who are the other nominees?" I told him "The Chieftans and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band” and he responded, "Well, we might as well forget that one!"

The 2012 Brown Jug Award goes to...Peter Stampfel

Peter StampfelWhen "The Anthology of American Folk Music," won the 1997 Grammy as Best Historical Album and for Best Album Notes, Peter Stampfel of the Holy Modal Rounders and writer of the liner notes, commented backstage when asked if he had plans for his award. "I'm going to put honey on mine and lick it off," he declared. One can only guess what his plans are for the Brown Jug Award!

“Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass” DVD Documentary Kickstarter Campaign

Pioneers of Bluegrass MusicThe brainstorm of James Reams and his 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.

James Reams Funding Pioneers of Bluegrass Music with Kickstarter

Pioneers of Bluegrass MusicJames Reams introduces his project, Pioneers of Bluegrass Music saying, "In early 2002, I was sitting in my office in Brooklyn and realized what a loss the bluegrass community had suffered recently with the deaths of so many legends like Benny Martin, Jim McReynolds, Ola Belle Reed, Pappy Sherrill, Jimmy Stoneman, John Hartford, and Bill Napier to name a few. I remember saying to my partner, Tina, 'It’s a shame that all of these pioneers of bluegrass music are passing away and their stories may never be told.' And we got to thinking about all the unsung heroes of bluegrass that have died, with barely a ripple in music circles. What stories would they have told about the early days, about the big name stars, about their love of this music? So we thought it would be amazing to be able to talk to some of the remaining pioneers and share their thoughts and insights with future generations."

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