Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

It's FALL. Doesn't seem too much like it yet, but it is. Football games, longer shadows from the sun and other little subtle hints we all recognize. Doesn't mean an end to festivities and festivals, just that they will soon be moving indoors.

You should be left with some good reflections for the indoor months. Last month there was the Iroquois Park show: the Strictly Bluegrass Festival, engineered by Gary Brewer. All comments I heard were very favorable. Good attendance, good acts and good weather. All of this means good prospects for the future of this festival. Thanks for letting me be a part of it.

Right after the Iroquois Park show, Gary and the Ramblers made an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. A big night for Gary. They were on two shows and got to do three numbers. According to Gary and [his dad] Jim, they have been invited to go back. I hope I will be able to join them next time.

Seems like Gary is all over, as they also were involved in the Sept. 17 kick-off for the Farm Aid program to be held in Louisville on Oct. 1. Good luck, Gary. Keep it up. The reason I didn't go with Gary and band to the Opry this time was because the Lewis Family was on the scene. They were at Shepherdsville Country Music Place on Sept. 15th and had a decent turnout. Next time there should be twice the folks that were there this time. Iknow that a good part of the audience was seeing the Lewises for the first time. They were not disappointed by any means. The Lewis Family provides one of the most energetic and entertaining shows on the road. This is a term that is frequently used, many times hollow, but with full, solid sincerity when applied to the Lewis Family. They are all people/fan oriented. Friendly, courteous, eager to please.

Their new CD, Bluegrass Country Club, is one of their best. Lewis sings a Randall Hylton song, "Standing Alone at God's Door." This is probably the best Lewis has done to date. Listeners have noticed and asked. For those of you who missed them then, you will be given another chance in November. The Lewis Family will be at The Opry House in Mitchell, Ind., Nov. 30. I hope to be there and you should too. HAPPY 70th Wedding Anniversary to Mom and Pop Lewis. May there be many more.

Berk Bryant and bluegrass fan Sun Sanders at the Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Photo by Jean Metcalfe

When you read this it will be time to think about what you will be taking with you to the Museum of Appalachia Fall Homecoming Festival the 12th-15th. Let's see, there's the camera, the video camera, good idea to take along a lawn chair, and, oh, a jacket in case it's cooool one day, perhaps an umbrella (you know, for that off-chance that it should happen to sprinkle). It's music, crafts, music, exhibits and demonstrations, music, cloggers, whittlers, shade tree (aka parking lot) pickers, just plain good and interesting folks.

Oh yeah, did I mention music? Bill Monroe will be there on Thursday, John Hartford on Saturday, Bill Carlisle on Sunday, Raymond Fairchild, Tuesday-Sunday; Marilyn Powell Greene, T-Su; Bill Stewart Family, T-F; Mac Wiseman, F-Su; Leroy Troy, Oswald, Grandpa Jones & Ramona and the list goes on. I'm sure you get the idea. Mr. Roy Harper, Tom Swatzell and ... well just don't miss it. From 9 a. m. till dark each day. Take the family, from grandma] grandpa to the second-and third-generation toddlers. Show them — not with just pictures or words - but show them with the real thing what is meant by the ""good old, hard old. days" that so many of us are so proud of and were perhaps honestly better times in some ways. The Museum of Appalachia is located 16 miles north of Knoxville and one mile east of Interstate 75. This is a wonderful fall experience and outing. I hope to see you there.

Just in case you get to see this in time, Grand Ole Opry star Connie Smith will be at Shepherdsville Oct. 1, at 2 and 6 p. m., for shows at the Country Music Place on Rte. 44 west of I-65. Oct. 6, same place, Lonesome and Blue, and Fresh Cut Grass. Oct. 13, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.

A free fall bluegrass festival, open stage jamming at the American Legion-Community Bldg., Henryville, Ind., Oct. 13-15.

Bluegrass will be coming to the West Point Opry house on Friday nights beginning Nov. 3. Opening night will feature Dry Branch Fire Squad. The Goins Bros. will be there Nov. 10, followed by J. D. Crowe and the New South or The New Coon Creek Girls on the 17th. At this time the 17th is not final but will be either/or, and either group will be good. Josh Williams and High Gear are coming on the 24th of November.

All around it looks like a fall season to look forward to.

Keep up on all of the latest by tuning to WFPL each Sunday night-for Sunday Bluegrass from 8:30-11 p. m. That's 89. 3 FM, Louisville. WFPL has recently instituted a listener comment line. Response has been tremendous. Possibly because it is so easy. Call 329-9375 and leave your comments. Here is your chance to comment on ANY and ALL of the WFPL programs/programming. Your comments are welcome. The calls are transcribed and copies are made for all concerned and these comments are seen and read. Participate and get your two cents worth in concerning what you think of the WFPL programs and what you would like to see — make that hear — happen. We want to know.