Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

The new year seems to be off to an interesting start. I have had some good correspondence and response to our All Hank Williams (Sr.) program New Year's Day. Wasn't as much time as I would like to have devoted to it, but we do what we can. Correspondence hasn't been limited to that. Some of the recent correspondence brought good news/bad news.

Good news: Mom Lewis, of the Lewis Family, got home from the hospital just before Thanksgiving and is improving. Their letter said they hoped she would seen be back on the bus with them. They will be at Meadow Green Park, Park City, February 28, 2:00 p.m.

Bad news/good news: Heard from Randall Hylton and it seems he somehow managed to fall last fall and break his left arm. When Randall falls it's a long way down. He has recovered, is picking and has recorded a new tape. It is an instrumental of pop songs of the '40s and '50s. Remember that in that time frame the term pop had a different meaning from what it does now. There were some really great songs from that era. Those were the days when young couples had their special song. Songs that were romantic and about romance. I don't mean the kind of songs/music you would go off to your room and close the door to listen to so your folks wouldn't hear or know what you were listening to. They can't, or certainly don't, write them like they did then anymore. Quite often I think we should find somebody who can. I might add I am looking forward to and anxiously awaiting a copy of this tape. Good for you, Randall. Get some of the good back on the market.

Jim Armstrong, fiddler for New Dominion Bluegrass, visited our program [WFPL's Sunday Bluegrass] and told us a lot about the band. This Norfolk, Va.-based band is a very good group. Of course, being from Virginia is definitely in their favor [no doubt because that is Berk's home state — Editor]. They were first brought to my attention by Bob Mitchell, who is a friend of Jim's. As it turns out, Jim Armstrong was actually home visiting for the holidays; he is from Louisville.

This past month was a good month for live music on our program. Allen Phelps, David Hunt, Kenny Cardin and Brenda Johnson were in one night and provided some excellent picking that drew a lot of good response from you folks who are listening and paying attention. That same night the Schmitt Family were over, in part to talk about coming over sometime to perform, and also to tell about the new tape they're working on. Maybe we will have one in about a month to six weeks. Nice folks.

Concerning having live music and guests at our program, a lot of friends and fans tell us that this makes our show special and in ways it makes listeners feel they are somehow more a part of the show. They have expressed the feeling that the informality, the personalization (If that ain't in the dictionary, I guess I made it up.), tends to give the impression of all of us kinda gathered together to enjoy the music among friends. To this many have added, "Don't change a thing about it, please don't change a thing." There is one change that they do unanimously agree on and that is they would all like bluegrass on longer or more often, meaning more nights, or all of the above.

Looking ahead to upcoming bluegrass opportunities:

At Shepherdsville Country Music Place in February: Brown Brothers, the 12th; Gary Brewer and the Kentucky Ramblers, the 19th; and Jim McCall & Walker Mountain Boys, the 26th.

A little aside from bluegrass: Kenny Taylor will be having a homecoming of former pickers that have been with him on the Saturday night country shows over the years. This will be on the 7th and starts about 1:00 p.m. I believe Kenny said it would go on until everybody decided to go home.

Kenny had a kidney transplant on Jan. 14. Hope he's doing well.