Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Is Thanksgiving almost here? It's that time already? I look forward to it. Thanksgiving was a big event when I was younger. After Thanksgiving, and only after, did we start talking about Santa Claus and Christmas. Thanksgiving was and is for me a special event also. Then it's Christmas time.

I thought I would be telling you about the Fall Homecoming at Norris, TN, Museum of Appalachia. I was prepared to go down Thursday that week. My wife and I had been out Wednesday night and, returning home, we found we had had a break-in. That changed our plans. I have been told by some of our listeners that it was a great weekend. Weather was great, music was great and everything went was I knew it would. I really missed seeing all the friends I see there every year.

Looking ahead, how about a Christmas gift tip? A much-request, long-awaited CD is out. Dry Branch Fire Squad has a new CD, recorded live, as in concert live, with a lot of Ron's stories. Also has the Hamboneing on it. For any DBFS fans, and there are many in this area, this is it. Twenty-one tracks, nine of which are stories, plus one a capella number. Songs include "Late Last Night," "Aragon Mill," "John Henry," "The Cowboy Song." "Red Rocking Chair (Suzanne)" and more. If you have seen a Dry Branch show, you know what to expect and I don't think you will be disappointed. There is a lot of good new material to be had. I will also mention another big favorite performer in this area and that is Randall Hylton. Randall has a new CD called True Stories – Tall Tales and Lies. You heard some of these first-hand in September when Randall make a live appearance with me (on Sunday Bluegrass). The CD has "Cecil and the Cement Truck," "What Kind of Deal is This," "The Delta King," "Country Poor and Country Proud" for a total of fifteen songs in all. He also has a tape called Coaltown Saturday Night. Pretty much mining/coal miner's songs. As usual, there are a lot of Randall originals in these releases.

Coming to Shepherdsville this month, on 1 November, it's James Monroe and the Midnight Ramblers, Josh Graves and Kenny Baker, also Misty Valley Boys. Yes, this the Josh Graves so long with Flatt & Scruggs and, yes, this is Kenny Baker, so long with Bill Monroe. You don't want to miss these two, On November 15, Jim McCall and Walker Mountain Boys; November 22, Lonesome Valley Band. Lonesome Valley is Harold Clark, Wayne Reynolds, plus others I don't know as I am writing this. On November 29, Carl Story's Rambling Mountaineers. December 6 brings the Sand Mountain Boys back.

[There is] bluegrass at Henryville, Ind. the second and fourth Saturday night of each month and at Scottsburg, Ind. the third and fifth Saturday of each month. The first Saturday night of the month, there is bluegrass at the Jefferson County (Ind.) 4-H Fairgrounds, Hwy. 256, Madison, Ind. For information, call 812-866-2826.

I understand there is a possible risk of losing the Strictly Bluegrass Festival we have enjoyed at Iroquois Park for the past several years. You need to make it known that there is an audience of bluegrass lovers out there. Let's not hear it said in a year or two, "They used to have a festival at Iroquois Park every year. Wonder why they quit? I used to love to go out there." If you don not call or write, you have answered the question. Everybody thinks you will do it, you think everybody else will do it. Keep in mind, one great festival in this area has already been lost – Otter Creek Park.

Another letter that would be greatly appreciated would be a letter to the Grand Ole Opry manager in support of keeping the Bluegrass Boys on the Opry. To help the Opry maintain its integrity, the Bluegrass Boys should remain there and some of the acts in the traditional vein that made the Opry the institution it became should be added. One that comes immediately to mind is Leroy Troy. There are a number of others.

Listen to Sunday Bluegrass, 8-11 p.m. on WFPK FM 91.9. The fall fund drive is coming this month. Listen, participate and support the program.