Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Spring is sprung, grass is riz, I wonder where the next festival is?

Yes, it's getting to be that time. Festivals will be blooming like wild flowers and it will be time to get out and enjoy. As the festivals bloom, some indoor concerts begin to fade for a season.

Such will be the case for the Friday bluegrass shows at Shepherdsville. May 22nd will be the last one until fall. That night will finish up with an all-gospel program. Right now I am not sure exactly who will be there, but I do know Lee Matherly will be one of the featured performers.

Lee is prominent at the regular 2nd and 4th Saturday night gatherings at Henryville, Indiana each month. Along with Matherly's performance, Chester is planning a big chili feed. Yep, all the chili you can eat FREE. Having not tried it firsthand myself, I don't know, but the word is, Chester makes some first-rate chili. Come on down.

This column deals a lot with the before and after. I get to tell you about things coming up and how good things were. For those of you who preferred basketball on the 4th of April, you missed some very good and interesting folks. Mr. Roy Harper and Evelyn "Daisy" Perry were at Scottsburg, Indiana.

Daisy, a very charming and interesting lady, passed on several great stories. Knowing that the Coon Creek Girls were the first all-girl country band, she added they also were involved in another first. They were the first outside group, other than close friends or very prominent performers, to be invited to the White House to perform. They performed for President Roosevelt, the King and Queen of England and a whole list of other dignitaries.

She told about the time she played at a nursing home, finished her bit and put her fiddle away. Then a lady came to her and asked if she wold go play a song for her bed-ridden mother. Just as they were about to enter the room, the lady told her that her mother was totally deaf. Daisy decided to lean over real close to the patient, play on the highest strings she could and play "Golden Slippers." The lady looked up at her, smiled a big smile and said, "I remember that one."

A lot of these good shows/events happen in a time period that requires us to speculate somewhat due to deadlines for copy. Example - Randall Hylton at Shepherdsville on April 17. Past experience tells me two things. The first is that the attendance was not nearly what it should have been the last time and that regardless, Randall provided a very entertaining show, as he always does.

One fellow's first impression the last time Hylton was here was "ain't no one man with a guitar going to entertain me for 40 - 45 minutes." Same guy was glued to his seat and leading the cheer for MORE! MORE! This same fellow made every effort to be booked on the show with Randall this last time.

Dave Cottrell was the fellow and Kentucky Blue is the band. Judging from the response this band got during the April 12 fund drive at the station, they are well liked in the area.

Right here is a very good time and place to express a very big public THANKS to Kentucky Blue for coming into the station and providing us with live bluegrass music for our fund drive. They made the trip in from Shelbyville, Frankfort, and points east to help us again. A tip of the Stetson to you and also to Beck and Roy, a nice couple we met at Scottsburg, Ind. during the Roy Harper/Evelyn Perry show.

It seems Beck sang on the Mary Jo Leet album and listens to our show every week. They also have their own album out. They also came in and played ahead of Kentucky Blue. They couldn't stay around too long, had to get back to Indiana so Roy could make it in to work early Monday morning. They said they will be back and I'm sure they will. Thanks to you, Beck and Roy.

Paul Mullins and Traditional Grass played Shepherdsville this last month to a small crowd, a small crowd that left very much satisfied with the performance of this group.

It is really not too early to tell you to make plans for the festival of your choice for this summer. I have gotten the good word on my favorite festival and thought I would pass some of it on to you. Now in its twentieth year, the Charlotte, Michigan Bluegrass Festival, the oldest continuous festival in Michigan, will be at the Eaton County fairgrounds on June 25-28. Without my notes or a safety net, I'll pass on what I can remember right now.

On Friday, June 26, Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley will appear. Heavy hitters right up front. Saturday and Sunday, Randall Hylton and Wade and Julia Mainer. During the weekend, Charlie Louvin, teamed up with one of the Whitstein Brothers, will perform in the Louvin Brothers style. Charlie Sizemore will be there, was well as Dry Branch Fire Squad, Warrior River Boys, Delia Bell and Bill Grant and the Lewis Family. I have been invited back again to emcee. The setting, the facilities, the festival is actually among the best we go to. Yes, there is camping, good security, and a pleasant atmosphere. Come join us at the Charlotte Festival. Some of our listeners were there last year and promised to return this year.

Speaking of Wade Mainer, my dear friend celebrated his 85th birthday on April 21. As I have said before, I hope you have only reached the mid-point of your career. God has blessed you and may He sincerely continue to do so.