Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass
In 2002, James Reams began shooting of "Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass" at the Grand Opening of the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY. Since then, James shot additional footage on location in tour buses, at the homes of the pioneers, and backstage at bluegrass festivals across the US. Reviews are pouring in, here's what a couple of folks in the bluegrass business had to say: "More than 40 musicians who played pivotal roles in the development of bluegrass music provide a treasure trove of candid comments, history and stories. Filmed from 2002 to 2008, this unique documentary preserves these brief, informal Q&A clips, made more precious by the passing away of many of these legends since this project's inception." ~ noted bluegrass authority Stephanie P. Ledgin, award-winning author of 'Homegrown Music: Discovering Bluegrass'; 'The Pioneers of Bluegrass gives the viewers, both novices and hardcore bluegrass fans, insight into the life experiences of many well-known bluegrass musicians. This DVD captures their true life stories of growing up, how they got into this business, and some experiences of their road travels. Musicians both past and present were interviewed. I was riveted to this DVD the entire time it was playing. It is a 'Must Have' for all bluegrass fans who want to know how it all started!!' ~ Al Shusterman, KCBL Radio, California. And here are a few early reviews from just regular folks: 'I have just finished watching the DVD twice and I just had to write to you to express my thanks for your passion for this project. It is evident from the first line to the very last fiddle note by Art Stamper. Wow!' ~ a fellow Bluegrass Nut; 'I appreciated the video and was happy to support it's' production. I'm from Kentucky and grew up with this music. Bless you for reviving memories.' ~ Doris S., Kentucky; 'The DVD was well conceived and executed. I had fun listening to the anecdotes and became a more rounded and educated bluegrass fan. James, your DVD adds so much more to the story of bluegrass. I feel as though I am living those times with the musicians. I will cherish it and watch it over and over.' ~ Gary R., Virginia; 'James, I was very impressed with your DVD. Looks like a lot of time and energy went into your project. I saw a couple of surprises while watching, one was Charlie Baily, that was neat. The other was Mac Martin and Mike Carson. Mac is my uncle and it's great to see him getting some attention. You did a great job with all the interviews, lots of luck!' ~ John M., Pennsylvania And that's just what this film is...a tribute to those hardworking, dedicated, and selfless pioneers of bluegrass music. Everyone who truly loves this music should want to hear the stories from not just the big names in our business but from the likes of Bill Yates, Art Stamper, Melvin Goins, and Kenny Baker - words now preserved in this documentary, honoring their legacy. "Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass" proves that their lives are no less important to the beginnings of bluegrass. Though a key piece of history for any hardcore bluegrass follower, this film is not a slick Hollywood production and there's not even a lot of music. Instead "Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass" focuses on the individuals that helped create this genre like Jimmy Martin, Mac Wiseman, Bobby Osborne, and the Stoneman's. You get to hear stories of sacrifice, dedication, innovation, and downright risks to life and limb straight from the mouths of those involved. To make the viewer feel like they're right there in the same room, or backstage, or even literally on the street with these 40+ bluegrass legends, the film was intentionally shot using a "man on the street" interview technique. The goal is to whet the viewer's appetite for more. Once they've heard about what these pioneers went through to even buy a guitar, for example, it's hoped that they will have an even deeper respect for this music and a desire to go back, look up those recordings and listen for themselves. Here are just a few of the stories told in this documentary: • Marge Sullivan walking 2 miles to borrow a neighbor's guitar. • Walter Hensley making picks and strings from whatever he had on hand. • Frank Wakefield's first look at a mandolin. • Jimmy Martin's struggles to raise money to buy his first guitar (which he still has!). • Plus lots of advice for those just starting to play. By collecting all of this information in one film, James Reams has painted a picture of the history of country music culminating in the innovation of bluegrass from Bill Monroe as well as the pioneers that appear in this documentary. This film represents a labor of love from a fan and fellow musician. It's one man's attempt to preserve these legacies - before they disappeared forever - for future generations of bluegrass music lovers. Run time: 84 minutes.