Over nearly three decades, bandleader James Reams has earned his nickname, the Ambassador of Bluegrass, for his stalwart dedication to the genre.
Now, a documentary on James' life and career has been selected by an International Film Festival based in the UK. An online world premiere took place recently, including a Q&A with James and filmmakers. Now, the documentary has been chosen for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
According to its website, the Doc'n Roll Festival began in 2013 as the UK's Music Documentary Film Festival. The fest, available online in 2020, celebrates music subcultures by providing a unique platform to support the wealth of creative, compelling and unforgettable documentaries that celebrate the performers, labels, scenes and stories.
Like A Flowing River: A Bluegrass Passage,' tells the story of James Reams who burst onto the bluegrass music scene in 1993. Coming from the hills of Kentucky and ending up in New York City, he touches on the themes of loneliness, homelessness, a life-threatening illness that could possibly end his career, and the loss of the love of his life and musical partner, Tina. One near-death experience, a brief but powerful time being homeless, and a career-threatening surgery combined to make James what he is today…an example of what courage, determination, and optimism – mixed with a whole lot of faith – can accomplish.
Reams’ many contributions to bluegrass and old-time music include a prolific string of well-received recordings with James’ own original songs, many co-written with Aridas. Two albums highlighted the playing of legendary banjo player Walter Hensley, a couple of other albums included old-time musician Tom Paley, and other recordings feature James’ own band, The Barnstormers, playing old-time country and traditional bluegrass fusion.
Like A Flowing River: A Bluegrass Passage is as much a story of hope as it is a musician’s tale. It is a film is for all who are carried along on the sometimes peaceful and other times, raging river that is bluegrass.