Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Festive Summer. Bluegrass festivals abound, all over, now that the warm/outdoor season is here. Festivals, some now past, festivals present, and festivals to come will be the main topic this time.

Festivals Past . . .

Festivals past for May include Red Mile in Lexington and the Otter Creek Park show. I truly hope both were successful and will continue for years to come. As of this writing I can't tell you how they were as they are yet a couple of days or a week away. Next time.

Festivals Present . . . and Future

June 1-3: C.R. Wilson 2nd annual Seven Springs Bluegrass Festival at Seven Springs. Featuring Tommy Brown & County Line Grass, The Kentucky Bluegrass Band, Changing Times Bluegrass Band and others. Friday night at 7 p.m. and Sat. afternoon at 1 p.m.

June 8-11: Festival of the Bluegrass, Kentucky State Horse Park, Lexington, Ky. The lineup there includes Alison Krauss, Seldom Scene, IIIrd Tyme Out, Doyle Lawson, Country Gentlemen, Del McCoury, Boys From Indiana, Kentucky Blue and others.

June 22-24: C.R. Wilson & A.R. White present Bardstown Bluegrass Festival. Featuring Tommy Brown, Gary Brewer, Changing Times, The Sunnysiders with Cyndi Ruff and others.

June 30, July 1-2: The Renfro Valley Bluegrass Festival. Some great acts, including Randall Hylton, Lewis Family, Osborne Bros., Raymond Fairchild and others.

June 22-25: Charlotte Bluegrass Festival, Charlotte, Mich. (the one I MC each year). This is their 23rd year and is the oldest continuous bluegrass festival in Michigan. This year's lineup includes Jim & Jesse with Mike Stevens, Lewis Family, Ralph Stanley, Warrior River Boys, Charlie Sizemore Band, Larry Sparks, Wade & Julia Mainer and other top groups.

I'll be looking for you at as many of these shows that we can make.

Pure Magic!

This is a little aside from BG, but most of you who know me or listen to my show (Sunday Bluegrass, WFPL, 89.3 FM, Sunday nights at 8:30-11:00) are aware that I have another performing interest: MAGIC! The Louisville Magic Club is having its annual public show June 2 at Iroquois Park. Starting time, I think, is 8 p.m. Listen for additional information. I will not be performing, only backstage assistance. Hope to see you there anyhow.

Traditionally Speaking

I have gotten a lot of very positive reaction to the traditional country I play from 9:30-10 p.m. the second Sunday of each month. I am really glad that the support for this music is there and alive and well. Like bluegrass, there is a large audience out there who want to hear Hank Williams SR., Carl Smith and Kitty Wells on the air again. And there are many other great names that can be added to this list, like Ray Price, Hank Snow and your own favorites. Traditional Music Association (TMA) is working to help make this possible again.

Good is good. If it ever was good then it still is. Traditional country music, and what we now call bluegrass is/was a part, was good when these artists came along and still is. If what they did was not good, the music, the names, the association and -- perhaps as important as anything -- the memories, would not be so enduring. The country foundation, rock solid, would not have lasted to give those coming along today a basis to be called "country." If traditional country was not and is not good, remember Hank SR. died over 42 years ago and a Hank Williams SR. song is as recognizable today as the day it was recorded. Many music fans born since then know Hank.

Anybody recognize the melody -- with or without the words -- to a tune called "Wildwood Flower"? Darn right you do, just as easily as most people can pick out "Orange Blossom Special." Why? These are so old. Yes they are, but age don't make no difference when it's GOOD!

Glazed or Jelly-Filled?

Well, it's probably time to go get a doughnut. I hope I have seen you at one of the aforementioned festivals or will be seeing you at a festival future. Get out, support the group/festival of your choice. Support doesn't mean you've taken them to raise, more that you are a voting fan and want to see this type of entertainment continue into the future for the benefit of all of us. We are all in this together. Keep listening on Sunday nights also.

Berk Bryant is the host of the acclaimed Sunday Bluegrass show on WFPL 89.3 FM, Sundays, 8:30-11 p.m. "It's time to go get a donut" is Berk's trademark sign-off.