Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Bluegrass fans are missing or denying themselves good, entertaining shows all too often. Example: Shepherdsville, Friday nights. Tommy Brown and friends were there January 31. A good show and a small audience.

February 7, the Goins Bros ion with long-time band members Danny Jones and Art Stamper. A better turn-out but, honestly folks, not what it should have been.

February 8 we went to the Rudyard Kipling in Louisville for an enjoyable evening, our first time there. Gary Brewer and the Kentucky Ramblers and Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers provided an entertaining show. Good response from those that were there. About a two-thirds house plus. We met some nice folks and, hopefully, gained some new listeners.

I know everybody can't make every show every time. I can't do that. But I also know that there are enough self-proclaimed bluegrass 'dedicated' fans to make a better showing each time. Some of the best talent available is coming to our area and are not getting the support from the fans and bands they should be getting.

Support means showing up for a show, but, more than that, it means 'I am glad you are here and that I have an opportunity to see, hear and meet you.' Support means 'we want more of this sort of thing and the proof is in the fact that I am here.' Support doesn";t end with 'I wish they would get the ‘Miracle Whiz Bluegrass Band"; and when they do, I wish they didn";t come that night. I";ve got to grocery shop on that particular night; them grocery doors ain";t open no other time but that night, during the hours they are going to be playing.'

What is a poor promoter or band to do? Fans want them and they come and too many fans don";t. This can only happen so many times before the door of opportunity closes and we go back to wishing there were some good bluegrass shows in this area: 'Don";t know why they don";t have any anymore.'

Enough of that for now.

Here";s your chance: coming to Shepherdsville in March, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, the Fret Benders, Petticoat Jtmction and Kentucky Blue. Listen to WFPL, Sunday Bluegrass, each Sunday night, 810 p.m. for more specific details. All shows start at 8 p.m.

Also coming to Shepherdsville are Randall Hylton, Kentucky Bluegrass Band and Kentucky Blue and the Reno Brothers. The Reno Brothers are the sons of the great Don Reno, acknowledged by most, including the best, as having been the greatest five-string banjo picker that ever has been or will be.

Festival time is now just weeks away and there are again some great ones to attend. Just a couple of top-notch ones that come to mind right off, to sort of whet your festival appetite:

Early June the biggie in Lexington. Last weekend in June go to Charlotte, Mich.; join me there for one of the best festivals we attend. Don't have a complete lineup as yet, but as of now I know Bill Monroe AND Ralph Stanley will be there on Saturday, Randall Hylton will be there two days, the Lewis Family on Sunday and I'm sure Wade and Julia Mainer. If there wasn't anyone else, that is a great lineup; however that is just a few of the many.

This will be the Charlotte Festival's 20th anniversary. Go, help celebrate a top-notch festival.

The July 4th weekend will have us at Renfro Valley. Just a few in that lineup: Raymond Fairchild, Osborne Bros., Randall Hylton and the Lewis Family.

This is just for starters and it looks like it's going to be a great festival summer. Plan now, don't miss ‘em.

Do You Ever Think Of Me (Pinecastle Records)


Hand Of A Higher Power (Pinecastle Records)
Petticoat Junction

By Berk Bryant

As 'I hear it,' two new CDs from Pinecastle are pretty good. One is from a bunch of ole hairy-legged boys called Redwing and the second is from a group of ladies we see listed in festival ads all over the place.

A very credible new CD from Redwing, a group that is also seen in festival ads. The album is one that hard-core BG fans will like. Mostly up-tempo in the spirit of foot-moving pickin'. From the kick-off tune 'In My Arms Instead of In My Memories,' which is a grabber, they don't let go. Some of the selections change the pace as they should. Included is a very nice mix of some older tunes, apparently overlooked or undiscovered by other groups and they add greatly to this effort. One of those is 'Jealous Heart.' Well done and I betcha can't remember when you heard somebody do it last. A pleasure to hear again.

Then all of a sudden there is this song that begs to be remembered and I was thinking, 'Boy that's a good old one, at least I think it is. Sure sounds familiar, or am I thinking of something else. No; it's just one of those good ones almost forgotten.' The tune: 'I'll Just Pretend.'

There is gospel and a cappella (one song), among 'Hold On,' 'Do You Ever Think of Me,' 'Jesus is Mine," 'Bittersweet Kisses,' 'I'd Rather Be Sorry' and others. All in all this is a good CD with a very good mixed selection of material. Watch for Redwing at a festival you can attend this summer.

The ladies of Petticoat Junction, whose new CD is titled Hand of a Higher Power, have turned out a very acceptable gospel CD. They have a good selection of numbers, including Don Reno's 'The Lord's Last Supper'; one co-written by Jimmy Martin, 'Lift Your Eyes to Jesus'; and a Lester Flatt number, 'Brother I'm Gettin' Ready to Go.'

Can't forget 'Don't Forget the Family Prayer" by Molly O'Day or the traditional 'Precious Memories.' On 'The Lord's Last Supper,' the girls are not Don Reno & Red Smiley, but then they aren't supposed to be. Over all, a good CD with talented pickers. Come to see them Match 20 at Shepherdsville, judge for yourself and pick up a CD or tape.

In the meantime, write to Pinecastle Records, Box 456, Orlando, Fl 32802, for a free catalog. As usual, you can also get a sampling of both groups on Sunday Bluegrass, WFPL, 89.3 FM, each Sunday from 8 to 10 p.m.

And that's the way I hear it!