Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Column time again, and some good things to pass along. Looking back into August and ahead into September.

Among other things last month, Randall Hylton was at the Kentucky Music Weekend at Iroquois Park. He introduced me to another writer for LMN, Alan Rhody. A brief meeting and conversation, but interesting. I mentioned that I write this column and right away he said, "Oh yes, I read that every month." Thanks, Alan, and I hope sometime I will get the opportunity to see you again and perhaps enjoy a longer visit.

"Jeopardy" question: Yes I do.

Answer: What is "Do you read Alan's column?"

I always enjoy seeing Randall perform and our visits as time allows. He was also at Scottsburg, Ind., at the Saturday-night bluegrass show. That's bluegrass, FREE, every third and fifth Saturday of the month at Scottsburg, and every second and fourth Saturday at Henryville, Ind. Following the Scottsburg bit on the 20th, Randall went to the Comedy Caravan in Louisville, Sunday the 21st.

Also this last month Cyndi Ruff, Alan Phelps and others went to the Bill Grant/Delia Bell festival in Hugo, Okla. Alan dobroed for Bill and Delia during their stay and is due to go back next year and the next and the next, etc. Cyndi's big moment came when Bill invited her up to do a number with them. Good going, Cyndi. Cyndi and Cross River, which includes Michael Cleveland and Brian Allen, will go to the Pizza Hut Showdown finals at Owensboro this month. Once again, Cyndi, there are a lot of fans pulling for you. Best of luck to you all and if for some reason you do not win, we know you will have made a VERY GOOD showing. Let's as many of us as can be there for that. Good audience response cannot hurt. Go and support Cyndi and Cross River.

Coming up, the Strictly Bluegrass Festival will be at Iroquois Park the 9th and 10th of this month. Featured, as I know them now, will be James Monroe, The Country Gentlemen, Carroll County Ramblers, Blue Velvet, Charlie Cline and Gary Brewer and the Kentucky Ramblers. I expect to be there for a good part of it. I have a conflict in dates every year at this time but do manage to make them both.

As of this writing the State Fair is just a couple of days off. My wife Esther has entered quilts again (4) and we are anxious to see the outcome. Hope it is a blue ribbon, and I hope you get to see them. [Flash: Although Esther didn't win a blue ribbon this year -- she has won several in past years -- she did win a second-place, a third-place and an honorable mention, batting .750! I saw the quilts and they are beautiful -- Editor.] We will also have been in the Hardin County booth a couple of times and hopefully met a bunch of you there.

Don't forget the big IBMA Fan Fest at Owensboro the 23rd, 24th and 25th.

Now, one of my yearly favorite things, the Tennessee Fall Homecoming at the Museum of Appalachia, Norris, Tenn. It just keeps on getting bigger and better.

Among the headliners this year: Bill Monroe, Mac Wiseman, Bill Carlisle, David Holt, Grandpa Jones, John Hartford, Raymond Fairchild, The Stewart Family from Louisville, Patsy Montana, Roy Harper, Bro. Oswald (57 years at the Opry) and over 200 more entertainers, including Marilynn Powell-Greene and Leroy Troy. Leroy does a great Uncle Dave Macon routine.

There is more to this gathering than the music -- much, much more. Here is one of the greatest opportunities to show youngsters and some of their parents the way things were -- "the good old days" or at least a simpler, less rushed time of integrity and respect. Displays and working demonstrations with the opportunity of hands-on experience. Experience that can otherwise only be described with words and pictures.

Something I watched a couple of years that helped impress this on me: A little girl -- a toddler of possibly two or three -- was watching some chickens, turkeys and other barnyard fowl in a pen and she was enthralled. It was a great picture, watching this child in her happy, delighted discovery of something that does not awe us "grownups." These are some of the many "bennies" that make attendance at this great event so special.

Arts and crafts as well as many other entertainments abound, such as Pat Cotter and his stories about the jack-o'-lantern told as he gives a great demonstration of pumpkin carving. October 6-9. For more information, write or call: Museum of Appalachia, P.O. Box 0318, Norris, TN 37828. Phone 615-494-7680 or -0514. SEE YA THERE?

A note of interest for fans of Roy Acuff and old westerns, as in Saturday-morning "shoot-'em-ups": I have found a source for some of the Roy Acuff movies on video and at a reasonable price. Just to mention a couple, "Grand Ole Opry," which also features Uncle Dave Macon and a good scene with Uncle Dave playing and doing some of his old banjo routine. Then there is one of my favorites, "Hi Neighbor." Some more available are "Night Train to Memphis," and "Cowboy Canteen," which has Roy and the Boys as well as Tex Ritter.

There is a pretty good selection of other favorites such as Tex, Bill Elliott, Johnny Mack Brown and Roy Rogers, just to mention a few. For a listing or to order, write: Wheeler King, RT #4, Box 408, Tazewell, TN 37879. Tell them you saw it here and mention me.

Berk Bryant is host of Sunday Bluegrass, WFPL 89.3 FM, Sunday evenings, 8:30-11.

(photo of Big Mon)