Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

By now we should all be writing 1997, not 1996, on checks and things. March is here, and according to the groundhog last month (the one who didn't see his shadow) spring should be in sight now. And, I might add, not a second too soon. With my luck, as you read it is either snowing in chunks or has been, but then again, there may be buttercups and hyacinths every where we look. Given a choice, I'll take the last scenario every time.

Given that all of this happening, festival fliers should be showing up like seed catalogs. Both of which start things flowing through the old veins and a strong irresistible desire to put cooler, lawn chairs, maybe a blanket in the car and head off down the road to that great kick off bluegrass festival.

I had the good fortune to got to the Keith McReynolds benefit at Galatin, TN. One of my listeners who lives close to us, called me that morning and asked me if I would like to go with him. He wanted to go and really didn't want to go alone. Got to see and talk with some of the guys. Each act was only on for three or four numbers and were off and gone. I had a good visit with Mike Stevens, Raymond McLain, Randall Hylton, Tom Ewing, David Davis and briefly with Jim McReynolds. Didn't get to visit, but saw John Hartford, Osborne Bros., Grandpa Jones and several others perform. John was looking good and sounding good. I looked up just as this fellow was rushing towards me and grabbed my arm. Not playing, only visiting was Leroy Troy, Very much enjoyed a good visit with Leroy. There were a few folks from my home back in Virginia I knew. Some folks that used to listen to my show when I was a country DJ those so many years ago. That was a real surprise.

I want to make note of a very good friend who died most unexpectedly last month. As some of you know, I go to the Star Restaurant at West Point rather frequently on Saturday night to perform table magic for the diners. The Star is owned and operated by the Wrights, Lois and Walt. Some of the nicest folks we know. We had gotten well acquainted over the last year or two. Walt died the fourth of February. He was a friend, most congenial, a big pleasant grin and always a good word. The people of West Point, customers of the restaurant, the people of Muldraugh, and all of his other friends will miss him and think of him often.

Don Dean. local musician, was in to co-host our Sunday Bluegrass show on WFPK last month. Don, as always, was well received. We had a lot of good response to the show. Don made a pledge at a level during the last fund drive that carried a premium of co-hosting the WFPK show of his choice. Speaking of fund drives, the spring drive is not too far off. As far as I know now, our part of the drive will be April 6. Listen for details concerning the drive show. Looks now as though it may prove exciting. If things go as hoped for at this time, you will not want to miss it.

Coming up at Shepherdsville, March 7, Gary Brewer and the Kentucky Ramblers; March 14, Fresh Cut Grass; March 21, the Goins Bros. and J. D. Crowe and the New South. At Clay City, Meadowgreen Park. March 1. Ric-O-Chet & Liberty Road; March 2, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, plus Homer Ledford & Cabin Creek; March 8, Charlie Waller & Country Gentlemen plus Blue Licks; March 15, Southern Harvest and Bluetowne; March 22 The Goins Bros.; March 29, Jim & Jesse plus the Young Acoustic Allstars.

At the Opera House in Mitchell, IN. on March 22, they are having Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. Also, and this is for traditional country fans, one of the all-time country greats, Ray Price, will be at Renfro Valley on April 5.

Just remembered, the date may be here before you get the next copy of LMN, so make it THURSDAY, April 3 at Shepherdsville, the Lewis Family and Jim & Jesse. You fans proved you could do it when Ralph Stanley came to Shepherdsville in January, let's make it another SRO night April 3. Looks like our entertainment plate is full, so let's enjoy in a big way.

Blue Hollow was at Shepherdsville last month. I was a little late getting there that night, but what I heard sound read good. This is a local band, consisting of Michael Cleveland, fiddle; Brian Allen, guitar; Jay Holbrook, banjo; Dennis Schubnel, mandolin and Joe "Killer," bass. As I said, they sounded real good, well rehearsed. Keep up the good work, gentlemen.

Bob Johnson, Furniture & Stuff, brought me a tape from Tugboat Jerry. Seems Bob was at the benefit show mentioned earlier and saw Tugboat. Bob, in conversation with Jerry, mentioned my show and a tape was sent to me. I listened to it on the way home from Shepherdsville that night. Any Ernest Tubb fan should like this tape. This guy is good and sounds remarkably like E. T. - the Troubadour, not the alien. It is called Remembering Ernest Tubb and has Jack Greene on drums and Leon Rhodes lead guitar. Contains many Tubb (not Tubbs) favorites, including "Walking the Floor Over You," "Waltz Across Texas" and "Thanks a Lot." There are ten Ernest Tubb songs in all and ten songs well done. The name Tugboat Jerry was derived from a career on the Mississippi river tugboats.

Prepare now to attend the festival of your choice this year. Let's make that festival(s).