November 1, 2009 | Comments Off
Dr. Kent: My next guest on the show is musician, Jacob Moon. So we’re going to listen to a song from him, and get him on the line, and we’ll talk to him about his music. The song is called, ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.’ So let’s listen to that, and when we come back, he’ll be on the line, and we’ll talk to him about his music. Here we go: Jacob Moon, ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.’
Dr. Kent: That’s a beautiful song by Jacob Moon called, ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.’ It’s off of one of his older albums. He’s got a new project coming out very soon, and it’s called, ‘Maybe Sunshine.’ Welcome to the show, Jacob.
Jacob Moon: It’s great to be with you.
Dr. Kent: What a beautiful sound. Tell me about your style a little bit. There’s a great clip on your site, of course, where you show how you play a little bit on the roof. You’re a fantastic guitar player, and you’ve got some interesting techniques. Tell me a little about it.
Jacob Moon: I’ve been playing for a bunch of years by myself. When you do that, it kind of forces you to make some choices about how you’re going to have to approach playing solo: are you going to strum the three chords and sing, or are you going to kind of get interested in some other techniques? For me, really the looping pedal has been something that I started working with about 12 years ago. That’s helped me to fill out the sound a little more, and take some of the other roles that maybe people in a band might take, like the drums, and the bass, and the lead guitar, and put those into my sound to try to make it so that people aren’t too disappointed that they’re only coming to a solo concert, but they’re hearing a few other things to keep things interested.
Dr. Kent: Touring by yourself like that, were you nervous at first? Did you always like it? Have you played with bands?
Jacob Moon: I like playing with bands a lot. It’s a lot of fun. Sometimes it’s hard for me to make the same connection that you can when you’re playing solo, because people can really hear the words, and everything kind of becomes about the vocal and the guitar, and you’re not competing with drums or it’s pretty hard to screw up a mix that only has two tracks. It’s a little easier to make connections with the audience, and that’s always been my goal. My ambition is to really have an intimate audience every night. That’s sometimes hard to do when you’ve got a band behind you.
Dr. Kent: So your music is also often times deeply spiritual. Talk about your songwriting. What’s it been like through the years. How have your songs changed?
Jacob Moon: The songs, they’ve come at various times. Like all songwriters, you write some of your best stuff when you’re going through your hardest times. It takes a lot of effort to sit down and write a happy song. I managed to do that on a couple of songs on the new record, so that’s been kind of cool, because there was some really genuine joy that I was writing out of. The trick is to write in such a way that it communicates that without any of the sugary sentiments that might get in the way of it being received. My songwriting process has always just been sit down, start dreaming aloud on the guitar, come up with some melodies, some chord progressions, some guitar riffs, and then let the vocal sort of arrive. It always does. Sometimes it takes a little longer than other times. It’s a strange thing: you start by singing a line that doesn’t make any sense, which I call a ‘dummy lyric,’ and then that’s just basically standing in until you can find out what the song’s really about. Sometimes you end up going with the dummy lyric because it’s the key and the clue to what the whole song is about. If you follow that lead, you discover kind of like a sculptor would, by chipping away at something, you find out that it actually already has a form, and you’re just discovering it.
Dr. Kent: Cool. Now in terms of the gospel music that you do, what’s the difference in audience between say a House Concert, a church audience, a coffee shop audience? What kind of shows do you do?
Jacob Moon: I play all over the place. I play churches, House Concerts, clubs, coffee houses, theaters. I just kind of let the audience tell their friends, and they tell their friends, and it kind of evolves organically from there. It’s very much a grass roots following that I have. Sometimes people hear me on the radio or see me on television, but by and large it’s by touring that I’m able to keep doing what I do. I play and I try to pay the audience a compliment that they can take whatever music I’m going to throw at them, whether it’s a bluesy style, or a jazzy style, or folk or gospel. It’s all coming from the same guy, and so hopefully that’s kind of unifying, and people are able to find something in that mix that they like, and maybe their ears are attuned to something new they didn’t know they liked. I often find people, older folks, who come away and they like the stuff that I would imagine younger people would have liked even more. I’m pretty sure that they don’t have record collections full of youthful music at home, but they liked what they heard that night. They end up going away with the CD, so it’s kind of cool.
Dr. Kent: You’ve got a blog site that I stumbled across when I was doing some research on you. I have two kids that I sponsor with Compassion, and it looks like you went down and visited down there. Tell me about El Salvador.
Jacob Moon: El Salvador was amazing. It’s just a small little country in Central America that has gone through a lot of war and difficulty and economic problems over the years. It’s a developing country. We went down there to really see what Compassion was doing to help the lives of young children and families in some of the poorer areas of that country. They’re doing a lot. There’s over fifty thousand kids enrolled in Compassion programs every day. That’s an incredible thing when you think even of just that number. All of the kids that we met were so fired up and so full of energy and life. The older ones who were graduating from the program, they had this incredible vision for what they wanted to see their country become, and how they were going to be a part of bringing about change in their families, in their churches, in their communities, and ultimately in their nation. That to me is the best defense you could ever make for whether a program is working or not. I was just really blown away by what they did.
Dr. Kent: People can check out more about that online at your blog site, and there’s a link to that off of your main website: JacobMoon.com. There’s also this deal on your site for your newest album, and I’d like to just for a second ask you about House Concerts. We’re partnering up with Concerts in Your Home folks and featuring a lot of musicians that do House Concerts, and you’re one of them. Tell us about House Concerts and what it’s like to do one, and what it’s like to observe one.
Jacob Moon: The new record’s called ‘Maybe Sunshine,’ and it’s just a six-song EP, but I’ve been preselling it online for the last month or so. If people do order it before next Saturday, then they can receive that copy in the mail. They’ll be among the first who receive it. Also, for as many CDs as they order, they’ll be entered into the draw for a free House Concert. I’ll go anywhere in Canada to do that at this point, because I tour all over Canada. It’s always nice to see different parts of this great country, and I love some of the States as well. It’s always a lot of fun. [Indecipherable] a Canadian contest.
Dr. Kent: So you’re on the road all the time. How many dates a year do you do?
Jacob Moon: Basically, I probably play somewhere around 150 a year, so it’s not too bad. Some guys play a lot more than that.
Dr. Kent: It’s plenty, though. People can check out your profile on JacobMoon.com, and again, I want to put in another plug for Concerts in Your Home, a great little organization where you can find out a whole bunch about some known musicians and some less known. That’s where I first saw your subdivision’s YouTube video.
Jacob Moon: Sorry – you’re breaking up a little bit. I was having trouble hearing you there. I’m on a cell phone.
Dr. Kent: It’s been such a pleasure talking to you. Jacob Moon’s new album, if you go and preorder it from his website: JacobMoon.com, it’s called ‘Maybe Sunshine,’ maybe you can win a free House Concert in Canada. If you are in Canada and listening to the show, that’s awesome. If you’re not in Canada, maybe you should rent a place in Canada just for that House Concert.
Jacob Moon: Absolutely. That would be great. If people want to hear a preview of the new record, they can go to the site, and I’ve got a little mini-podcast up there right now, and it plays some clips from the new songs.
Dr. Kent: Cool, and actually we’ve successfully uploaded a track from the new record, called, ‘Sara.’ Do you want to give us a little [indecipherable] about it?
Jacob Moon: Fantastic. That would be great!
Dr. Kent: Tell us about it.
Jacob Moon: That song there is called ‘Sara.’ It’s all about the sponsored child that my wife and I met when we were in El Salvador. An incredible eight year old girl, full of life, beautiful and funny. We spent the whole day with her at a children’s interactive center in El Salvador and just had a blast. We came into that experience kind of with heavy hearts. Some personal stuff had been going on for us, and we just really needed what she brought, which was joy. She didn’t know what she was doing, but she was lifting our burdens. For that, I thought it was really a good tribute to pay to her to write her that song.
Dr. Kent: It’s such a beautiful relationship that you can have through these sponsorships. It’s extraordinary. I really like Compassion and how they do it. Some of the happiest days are when I get letters from my sponsored kids.
Jacob Moon: Yes, I know. Truthfully, their happiest days are when they get letters from us, and pictures. They keep them in a box under their bed, wrapped up like a Christmas present, and they get really emotional when they think about those letters and what they mean to them. It occurred to me that for some of them, it’s their first contact with unconditional love. I heard the one guy say, ‘Yes, these people on the other end of the world, they don’t even know me, but they love me.’ That meant so much to him, and the light kind of turned on for me, and I thought, wow! There’s something about this relationship that is really redemptive and really beautiful for these kids and for us. I just encourage those who are already sponsoring kids, write them, send them pictures, because it actually makes a huge, huge difference: more than we know.
Dr. Kent: It’s been such an honor to chat with Jacob Moon. ‘Maybe Sunshine’ is the new record, and we’re going to listen to a track from it called, ‘Sara.’ Thank you so much for talking to me today.
Jacob Moon: Thank you so much for calling me, man, and all the best with your program.
Dr. Kent: We’ll talk again sometime.
Jacob Moon: I would love that.
Dr. Kent: Alright, JacobMoon.com. You can go and check out his album, and like I said earlier, and like he mentioned, you can preorder ‘Maybe Sunshine,’ and be entered to win a House Concert in Canada if you’re so inclined. You’ve got to do that before Halloween, October 31st. Let’s listen to a track from that new record, ‘Maybe Sunshine,’ by Jacob Moon, and it’s called, ‘Sara.’ Here we go.
Dr. Kent: And that was the first part of a song by Jacob Moon. It got cut off a little bit there, but such a gorgeous song. You can go and listen to the entire track at JacobMoon.com. Earlier on in the show we listened to ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright’ from his earlier album. Of course, there’s also some great YouTube footage that he’s done, where he shows some of his incredible guitar techniques where he layers guitar sounds, one over the other, with a great looping pedal. Well it’s been an honor on the show today to welcome the award-winning author of ‘Skinny Bitch.’ She’s a New York Times bestseller, and of course, the book has done extremely well, selling millions of copies. As she said, Posh Spice has even posed with a copy of it. Of course, it’s a huge hit around the world. Before that we talked with Dr. D.A. Henderson who’s the author of ‘Smallpox: Death of a Disease.’ Fascinating, especially in a time when we’ve been talking so much about H1N1 virus and about vaccines. They’re so important, vaccines. Vaccinate your children. It’s just so important. Before that at the beginning of the show we talked to Glenn Bachman, who wrote, ‘The Green Business Guide.’ He gave us a great insight into how to be green and what being green really means. I really hope green businesses are going to be a profitable model for the new century. At the end of the show, again, we just listened to Jacob Moon and a couple of his songs. I’d like to go out with one more song by Jacob Moon. It’s called, ‘The Great Beyond.’ This is, again, from one of his earlier albums. Check out his website at JacobMoon.com. On the flip side, I’ll be gone. So have a wonderful week, pick up a great book, pick up Jacob Moon’s wonderful CD. He’s got that great special deal online. You might even win a House Concert with him. We’ll see him the next time. Visit me online at SoundAuthors.com. Thank you so much to Jamie and to Amber, the producers on this show, and I’ll see you the next time.
November 1, 2009 | Comments Off
From His MySpace Page:
When audiences first hear Jacob Moon in concert, often their first question is “Why isn’t this guy famous??” To see and hear this Hamilton-based singer-songwriter in action is to be filled with wonder, and more questions, like “How does he make the guitar sound like an entire orchestra?” and “Where do I get my hands on these songs?” To answer the question of what Moon has been up to for the past few years, he’s been very busy recording CDs for the Signpost label (Steve Bell’s imprint), and touring all over Canada and into the United States. He has played hundreds of theatres and churches in his quest to reach new audiences with his songs and stagecraft. He has taken the grassroots approach to marketing and promotions, like his friend and mentor Steve Bell, and it has rewarded him with a following that is passionate and loyal. His CDs have been played on radio stations across the country, and have sold over 25,000 copies. His passionate vocals and inspired lyrics are given flight by his total command of the guitar, which at times sounds like an entire orchestra, owing to his use of the JamMan, a live looping device that allows him to more fully realize his onstage ambitions as a solo artist. The opportunity to hear and experience a Jacob Moon show is not to be missed. His newest album, ‘Maybe Sunshine,’ can be pre-ordered at his website: www.JacobMoon.com
September 8, 2009 | Comments Off
Janet grew up outside of Reidsville, NC in Caswell County. Her grandfather’s conversion to Christianity changed an entire family. Several preachers, evangelists, and a gospel singer emerged from this family. In the late 1970s Paschal was invited to become a member of southern gospel group The LeFevres. The group then changed its name to The Rex Nelon Singers (after the last LeFevre retired from the group). From there she became a member of televangelist Jimmy Swaggart‘s music team. In 1986, Paschal began her solo career, releasing her first album entitled I Give You Jesus on Swaggart’s Shiloh label. Several other albums followed, but none gained the commercial success that would occur after Janet’s 1992 move to Nashville, Tennessee.
Paschal’s breakout hit came with her 1997 album The Good Road, which landed her numerous appearances on Bill Gaither‘s Homecoming Concerts as well as the corresponding records. Since then, Paschal has released five more albums (as of July 2007) and has received numerous awards including Dove and Grammy nominations and was named Christian Music’s top female vocalist for three consecutive years.
In 1999, Paschal married airline pilot, John Lanier. In 2005, Paschal was diagnosed with breast cancer and received months of treatment. As of July 2007, Janet Paschal’s cancer is in remission and she often speaks of how her life is completely changed as a cancer survivor.
June 5, 2009 | Leave a Comment
Dr. Kent: Welcome back to Sound Authors. It’s my pleasure to have on the show the musician and author Janet Paschal. Welcome to the show.
Janet Paschal: Thank you very much, nice to talk with you.
Dr. Kent: Well, I sure would like to listen to a couple tunes, I’ve got a couple in the queue. But let’s talk for just one second before I do that. Tell me a little about your latest record.
Janet Paschal: Well, I’ve been doing what I do for a number of years, and over the years people have remembered songs from as far back as 30 years ago, and I’ve still continued to get mail and email about some of those older songs, so for this record project we went back and recaptured 12 of those most requested songs from as far back as 30 years ago and re-recorded them. We kept the same, original arrangements and just updated the music and the technology of course, and we called it Treasure.
Dr. Kent: I’d love to listen to a track from that, I’ve got the song Hide Me, Sweet Rock of Ages in the queue, so let’s listen to that.
Janet Paschal: Okay.
Dr. Kent: Actually, why don’t you tell me a little bit about that song before we listen.
Janet Paschal: Ok, that song I recorded for the first time when I was singing with my first professional group. I was 18 years old, I lived in North Carolina, I wanted to sing Christian music, and they were coming through my area, and they were looking for a soprano, and I auditioned and they hired me. We recorded this song a couple years later, so it’s special to me for a number of reasons. Because it’s a fun song, and because it was with my original group, but also, you know, a lot of times music and songs will take you back to a certain place in your life, and that’s just been another rewarding aspect of doing this CD, it recaptures those old tunes, and it reminds us of some of the places we were, and some of the experiences we had through those years.
Dr. Kent: Wonderful. So let’s listen to this song that will take us all the way back to the beginning, Hide Me, Sweet Rock of Ages. Here it is.
Dr. Kent: Wow, what a tune.
(laughter) It’s a fun song, it really is.
Dr. Kent: It’s got to be fun, doing this kind of music.
Janet Paschal: It really, really is, because it is feel good music. It’s buoyant, and it lifts your spirits, and it has a positive message. It’s really a lot of fun, especially when you have a little history with it.
Dr. Kent: You’ve been onstage for a lot of people in a lot of countries. Tell us a little about that.
Janet Paschal: Well, I have sung in almost every country. Not every country, but certainly the majority of them, and it just astounds me that music seems to cross over language barriers, and facial expressions, and the actual chords and progressions of chords. They translate in different languages, and I have always just sung in English, and many times the audience didn’t speak English, the majority of them. But somehow they seem to have been communicated to, so it works.
Dr. Kent: You are a unique musician on the show because you’re also an author. So you’re a sound author and a sound author. And your book is called Treasures of the Snow, and it looks very similar actually to the album Treasure, which is kind of neat. But tell us about the importance of this book in your life.
Janet Paschal: Well, it’s actually my second book, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, and plowed through a year, about a year and a half of treatment. I chronicled that journey, and of course I did newsletters and blogs and so many people requested that they get a copy of that, and was I going to publish it. So finally I was due for a new book. So what I did is I worked this out so that the book is in three sections, and the first section deals with breast cancer, my plowing through that. And then the other two sections are other stories from the road. But the idea, and we did release the CD and book together, that’s the similar covers and the similar titles, but the idea is when Job was explaining to God about how faithful he had been, and explaining some of his (inaudible) to God, God just turned on him and asked where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth, and can you tell all the waters of the beaches, how far to come and no further? Do you know when a mountain gives birth? In other words he made Job realize how small he was. But one of the things he asked him which intrigued me was, have you seen the treasures of the snow? And I had ton know on that a little bit, I didn’t quite understand it. And then it occurred to me that snowflakes from a distance all look the same, but when you examine them closely, they’re very different, and they’re very unique. So for me, that spoke to me in that the situations, the things that I will have to plow through, like breast cancer, you know, some of the rough places in life, if we just gnaw on those things and try to swallow them a little bit and understand what it means in the larger scheme of things, then there are real treasures to be had, there are wonderful life lessons to be learned, and great takeaways from those things.
Dr. Kent: Well, and that’s such a hard thing to do when you’re going in and out of emergency rooms or clinics or hospitals, because those places have a horrible feel to them in some ways, and your family’s being dragged into it, and they’re all emotional, and…
Janet Paschal: You know what was the strangest thing for me was following the signs to oncology for the first time. I was treated at Duke Medical Center, and my husband and I were looking up at the ceiling following the signs to oncology, and it was just, it was so surreal, because my family didn’t have any history of cancer, and that was sort of a tough day for me, just following those signs.
Dr. Kent: Yeah, and you are a very spiritual person no doubt. Job is such a heavy book in the Bible that a lot of people like to skip over. But when you’re going through times like that, it’s pretty brave to go into Job. Talk about the book of Job.
Janet Paschal: Well, you know what I love about Job, a lot of times I go there and he does my venting for me. Because a lot of times I’ll read in Job when he was saying, “Oh, God, why do the wicked prosper?” and a lot of times I sit and I read that and I go, “Yeah, yeah, I want to know the answer to that, too.” And so it helps me just to sort of process whatever it is that I’m plowing through. But you know, in the larger scheme of things we’re all creatures of this earth, and we’ll all have great days, and we’ll all have very painful days, and good times and bad times. And so I think the crux of the matter is how we take the tough things in life, how we juggle those and balance them and how we incorporate all of that into our joys and our pleasures, and hopefully when we’ve figured it out, when it’s all said and done, then we have made good decisions and we have left the world a better place.
Dr. Kent: Well absolutely. And certainly you have quite a list of accomplishments, and you’ve inspired a lot of people. You’ve put out a ton of CD’s and probably all the way back to records. Did you put out a record at the beginning, or was it a tape?
Janet Paschal: Yes, absolutely. My first solo project was an LP, and I still have people come up to me at concerts and want me to sign it. (laughter)
Dr. Kent: Well, I’ve got to say, I’m an iPod user, and an iPod lover, but there’s something about LP’s, the pictures on them, they’re so big and so tangible, and you put the needle down on them, there’s something about it.
Janet Paschal: That’s exactly, and you know, the sound is sweeter too, I think.
Dr. Kent: So you still have an LP player?
Janet Paschal: Yes, I absolutely do.
Dr. Kent: Well, it’s been such a pleasure speaking with Janet Paschal, she’s got a book Treasures of the Snow, and it’s really just a wonderful book to pick up, and such an inspiration to people, and for all of those like me who look at the book of Job with a little bit of fear, this is a good entrance into that. And the album that goes with it called Treasure is really a great album, full of great energy. So tell us where we can find out more about you.
Janet Paschal: You can visit my website janetpaschal.com, or you can Google me, so Google will definitely get you there.
Dr. Kent: Exactly. Well, Janet Paschal has done so many wonderful things with her life. Thank you so much for being on the show, and for helping so many people.
Janet Paschal: It’s a pleasure talking to you. Thank you.
Dr. Kent: Actually, before you leave, why don’t you say a couple words. We’re going to go out with the tune We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown. Do you have anything to say about that one?
Janet Paschal: Ok, this is again, I recorded it back probably 30 years ago, but it was one of our, the group that I was in at the time, it was our big hit, so, and you know, it still is, it’s been recorded by 150 different people, but it is still a great song.
Dr. Kent: Well thank you so much, and have a wonderful day.
Janet Paschal: Thank you. Bye.
Dr. Kent: Now this song is from the album Treasure, and it’s called We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown. Listen to this.
Dr. Kent: And that was the tune We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown by Janet Paschal, off of her newest album Treasure. Thank you so much to all my guests on the show today. I had Mark David Gerson, I had Janet Paschal, I had Mark K. Updegrove, and at the beginning the wonderful children’s author Kathy Lasky, who wrote that wonderful biography of Charles Darwin. Everybody have a safe week and pick up a great book. I’ll talk to you on the flip side.
March 26, 2009 | Leave a Comment
Dr. Kent: That was a tune from James Reams and the Barnstormers from an album called Troubled Times. The song is called Troubled Times and now we have the honor of chatting with James Reams and these are indeed troubled times so welcome to the show James.
James Reams: Dr. Kent, it’s so wonderful to hear your voice!
Dr. Kent: You are from Kentucky and you ended up in New York. Tell us about that journey.
James Reams: What happened was when I was a kid I really enjoyed print work, there was a person that I met who was actually a young girl and I had some romantic interest in her and also I had some interest in print making and I came to new York city with a cardboard box and a pair of work shoes and got thrown into the whole trade and it was probably the best thing that happened to me in my life as I was raised there in eastern Kentucky and it was sort of hard scrabble but all of a sudden I came to new York and it was a completely different world. I got to meet people from all walks of life and it was an amazing adventure and still is.
Dr. Kent: As someone who, I live out on Long Island but I do know there’s an old time thriving music scene in New York and what I love about your music is it’s not polished to the T, it’s got that old time feel to it. Tell me about your theories on music and how that fits in New York City?
James Reams: Well you know yeah, I actually like the old time sounds and I was raised that way and I know also that you appreciate it too. I know that you have a book coming out about Doc Watson actually and he’s a hero of mine and so many people and what I like about music is I like it to be authentic and real and when we go and record an album we do it live in the studio with very little fixing and I also for years in the city I helped support a blue grass and old time convention that happens every year and this following year will be 12 years that we’ve had it going on. It’s called bluegrass and old time jamboree in park slope and it’s held by the Ethical Society and we have over 700 people who come in and have workshops and we have masters of the instruments. New York has a lot of great figures and they show people how to play mandolin, fiddle, banjo, we have film series and we really enjoy it, we’re having it in September.
Dr. Kent: Where do folks find out about that?
James Reams: They can go to my website at www.jamesreams.com and also a facebook page that has a listing of things and a nice film of last year where we had a new lost city ramblers celebration. We had two of the original new lost city ramblers and it was special to them because it had been 50 years from the night that they played together and its very rare film footage on that facebook page. You don’t have to be a facebook member to see it.
Dr. Kent: I’m looking at it right now, it’s in September 11-12, 2009 in Prospect Park area. That seems pretty neat and there’s some video up there of John Cohen, I think that’s who you’re talking about right?
James Reams: That’s right, John Cohen and Tom Paley. Tom has this really interesting history because he used to work with Woody Guthrie. Toms a New York fellow who is a big part of old time music and played with Woody Guthrie and now he lives over in England and he comes over occasionally. I recorded an album with him too, something that came out on Copper Creek Records. Mysterious Redbirds were Tom and I and Bill Christophersen recorded an old time album of some of the old-time songs and tunes. Tom was just such a big influence on me and part of what I love about music is to honor those who have made it and I also had another opportunity to make an album with a real legendary character, somebody in bluegrass many people may not know probably, a cult legend named Walter Hensley who was the very first banjo player to play Carnegie Hall. He played with Earl Taylor and I think it was 1952  and I did two albums with him and that was really exciting too and one was actually nominated for a blue grass recorded event of the year by the international bluegrass music association, which I know you’re a member of.
Dr. Kent: I am now, I just joined and the funny thing about blue grass I like that the world talks about old time music as bluegrass but there’s such a big difference. There’s a different amount of heart in old time music I think.
James Reams: I think there is a big difference and the music that I love the most straddles those two and in the 1930s and 1940s and probably even a little into the 50s there were people who straddled those two and that’s the type of music that really inspires me and there’s still some people doing that today, like the Dry Branch Fire Squad and there’s a number of groups that try to straddle that old time bluegrass, but you’re right there’s two different camps and that’s sort of a shame. Even in bluegrass there’s like two different camps, traditional and contemporary and I think all the labels and I know that you’re a believer in this too. All those labels, they help have people understand, but also they hurt. I think that a lot of times musicians like yourself and myself what we do is create music and its almost organic, it just comes out from us so I’m hard pressed to even sometimes label what I do even though I think most of the time I get my records thrown in the bluegrass bin. It feels like an extension of me and I think that’s where music becomes a wonderful part of your life.
Dr. Kent: I had the great pleasure this year, I went to the thanksgiving concert of Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger at Carnegie hall and that was a real blast for me because I grew up with that music and their music crosses over between bluegrass old time somewhere in there and Pete Seeger, it was so neat to see him as part of the inauguration ceremonies this year. Talk about Pete Seeger and I guess the history of this music. What’s your take on all of it?
James Reams: Well Pete Seeger is I think an unsung hero of music and also his half-brother Mike Seeger too but Pete Seeger had that rainbow quest television program out of NYC and you still get the films of that where he brought in like Doc Watson and Clint Howard and Fred Price and those folks and also Johnny Cash and the Stanley Brothers. People in the urban world had become aware so I think Pete Seeger has really made so many people aware of their roots and that’s what I think right now in America you really see this new type of music; Americana, and you see that its being embraced by more and more people and I understand how people say I don’t really like country music because its turned its back on the roots of music. I think that if people have a sort of idea that they don’t like something like country music maybe they should explore the roots because the roots of it are extremely beautiful because it’s made by everyday people who struggle and with making their lives better through music.
Dr. Kent: All right, so you’ve got this record Wild Card, another one Troubled Times. Give us your advertisement about that.
James Reams: The Troubled Times record is really interesting because it has a CD and DVD. In the DVD I actually interviewed a lot of the pioneers of bluegrass music. Jimmy Martin, Sonny & Bobby Osborne, and the DVD is free when you buy the CD Troubled Times, its one of those two-for discs and there’s a documentary about myself and the jamboree and the Barnstormers and follows us making this music out of NYC, which so many people say this seems so strange – a bluegrass band out of NYC but we do and if you look at our schedule we’ll be playing west Virginia this year and places like that. The documentary shows how we grow bluegrass in the cracks of the city where we say red clay meets concrete. I guess you can get it at cdbaby or amazon. Plus I have a number of other albums available like you said; Wild Card, with the great John Glik and all of them are still available except my very first one Song Birds, which is out of print.
Dr. Kent: I love the sound and we’re going to play one more track. This one is from Wild Card, we’re the kind of people that make the juke box play. Tell me about that?
James Reams: I’ll tell you what that is; I like to take some of the older country forms and I love honky tonk country music and we’re the type of people who make the juke box play is a honky tonk song written by Johnny Paycheck that he was never able to record. We found it, changed it and made it bluegrass and we’re just so proud of it. So yeah, we hope that everybody enjoys it and I want to thank you for your time. I really appreciate you calling. I’m in Arizona now and I appreciate you tracking me down!
Dr. Kent: Absolutely, I would love to have you on again sometime. Its fun chatting about old-time music. There’s not many of us out there, I think a lot of people would love it if they hear it, but I’m a big fan.
James Reams: I know you’re originally from Oklahoma and the whole bit and I think it’s wonderful what you do along with everything else.
Dr. Kent: It’s been an honor speaking with James Reams. We’re going to listen to a track from Wild Card called We’re the Kind of People that Make the Jukebox Play. Troubled Times has a bonus DVD and what a perfect song and album for these times. Thank you so much for chatting with me and lets get together again down the road.
Dr. Kent: That was a beautiful tune from a guy named James Reams and that was his band with him, the Barnstormers. You can find out about him at jamesreams.com. What an honor to speak with all our superstar guests today. Alphie McCourt’s A Long Stones Throw, Dr. Allan Hamilton with The Scalpel and the Soul and Donald Greco’s Abramo’s Gift. Be safe and we’ll see you next week and read a good book between now and then!