Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Is bluegrass really only for the seniors? The senior audience, the senior performers. If this is your misconception of America's music, take another look. One very good place to do that is at a festival this year. Look at the young, and I mean youngsters, sitting around, picking up a storm. Take another look up there on that stage at all of the younger performers these days and take a look at the cover pictures on the new CDs. Now tell me there are not young people coming into or following bluegrass. If you heard "Sunday Bluegrass" on June the 7th, you heardMichael Cleveland. Blind and eleven years old, Michael is not a kid fiddling, Michael is a fiddling kid. Michael did not have to take up bluegrass, he did not have to follow bluegrass, play a fiddle and a mandolin _ he prefers it. The next time someone tries to tell you that bluegrass is for seniors, agree _ high school seniors. Many of these youngsters are definitely going the traditional route. GOOD FOR THEM!

I had an interesting thought brought up a while back concerning the "bluegrass conspiracy." Since it seems that all commercial country and country stations are so totally anti-bluegrass, do they, including Nashville, feel threatened by bluegrass? There have been top performers on some of the Nashville-produced TV shows and other shows who have received a substantial amount of mail and response to their appearance and are never or seldom ever invited back. What's happening here? You fans don't know what you want to see or hear, so we will have to tell you. I have gotten the word that there are many sidemen in Nashville who love bluegrass, but not the Nashville high and mighty. Get out there this summer and support your favorite bluegrass artists by attending their performances. It keeps them coming back and it lets them know you really do want them and bluegrass music. Take your youngsters to a bluegrass festival this summer and let them get an idea of what it's like to go to a concert where you can hear what's going on, relax and not get run over or crushed by a throng of fans. A festival is where you get that special moment of personally meeting your favorite star. Let them learn the real difference between a rock concert and a bluegrass festival. Better they are hooked on BLUEgrass then something they might pick up on the street.

Rumor has it that on August 1 there will be some changes to our "Sunday Bluegrass" program on WFPL. We will be adding a little more time along with another change or two. Listen for details and stay with us. Spread the word that bluegrass music is on the air in Kentucky. We find a lot of people are just finding out about us. Sometimes we learn of new listeners every week.

Festival information for the weeks ahead: July 2-4, Old Joe Clark Festival at Renfro Valley. Good line-up.

The Green Acres Bluegrass Festival, Martinsville, Ind., also July 2-4, includesGary Brewer and theDel McCoury Band.

On July 16, Purnell's Old Folks Country Sausage Amateur Bluegrass Music Contest is at the Spencer County Fair. For details, contactDon Lorenz, (502) 244-1372 days / (502) 477-2322 nights.

The Old Time Fiddlers Contest will be held on July 17-18 at Rough River Dam State Park.

July 18 will be Bluegrass Gospel Day at Rosine, Ky.

July 16-19, at Rynearson Farm in Westfield, Ind., there will be some of those young pickers, as inKentucky Blue, Petticoat Junction andRedwing.

Plenty of opportunities. Choose the festival of your choice and attend.

The Bluegrass Parlor Band (Pinecastle Records)
Two Colors

This 15-song CD is by a new group I was unfamiliar with. It starts off with "Little Mountain Flower" and contains such songs as "Our Last Good-bye," "Dream of a Miner's Child," "When the Bees Are in the Hive," On the Banks of the Ohio," "These Old Blues," "I'll Break Out Again Tonight," and ends with "Light At the River." This is a good CD, good talent, good selections and pretty much traditional. One of the things I notice when playing through a new CD is what is on it that I would or would not want to program on my show. With this one, I would feel comfortable, in a pinch, putting it in, punching up a number in a hurry and be satisfied the listeners would like whatever comes up, and, believe me, there are times it is done that way. I think maybe I might need to go back and listen to "Bloo Opus" again.

Availablefrom :

Pinecastle Records

PO Box 456

Orlando, FL 32802

Out In The Dark <(Pinecastle)
Jeff Murray

If the name sounds familiar, it should be to any fan of theBoys From Indiana. Jeff is the banjo player for BFI. I knew this CD would be coming but didn't know when. BFI is not on the CD with Jeff but he has some good backup. This is mostly instrumental. It has a lot of familiar numbers, including many shall we say standards: "Sally Goodin," "Wreck of the Old 97," "Willow Garden," "Soldier's Joy," Bugle Call Rag" and more.

The only disappointment I had with there was "Rocky Island." Somehow the intensity Jeff plays this with on stage does not translate onto the CD. He clawhammers the dickens out of it on a live performance, as good as anyone I have ever heard and I was expecting the same here. If you like good banjo picked by a terrific young picker, look for this one.