It's September, school has started, and it is —or almost is — autumn, or should I say fall. Anyhow, it's the end or ending of summer. Outdoor festivals will be coming to a close and the indoor shows begin within the next few weeks. Yes, it takes a few weeks as some outdoor events are yet to come.
October 9-12 is one of my favorites. The Tennessee Fall Homecoming at Norris, Tenn., at the Museum of Appalachia. There are Appalachian crafts, music and many exhibits and demonstrations of the "old ways" of doing things — examples of the way day-to-day life was. Did you ever try to tell a grandchild, or child for that matter, how things used to be done? Take them to Norris and show them a few things. Get a little hands-on experience. You might get to split a log or join a friend and pull a cross-cut saw. It's fun, also was work, but under these conditions it's fun. Not as easy as it may look. Requires a little technique. Watch the mule-drawn cane press turn the cane into juice — juice that is then cooked just the right amount and finally made into some of the best sorghum molasses you are going to find.
As if all of that weren't enough, there's music — music on three stages — beginning at nine each day and continuing through until dark. Music by some of the best in the business, and some of the best pickers for miles around, that you will only hear like this. The likes of Ralph Stanley for four days, John Hartford (four days), Grandpa and Ramona Jones (four days), and Raymond Fairchild. Then there is Mac Wiseman on Thursday and Friday, and Doyle Lawson on Saturday and Sunday. There will be Leroy Troy, Marilynn Powell-Greene (The Mule Lady), Willadeene Parton (Dolly's sister), Bill Stewart Family, Roy Harper and just too many more to name.
You will not go lacking for things to see, things to do, music to hear and some all-time favorite artist to meet. Make reservations now. Everyone I have talked to when they were leaving last year said they were coming back this year. That's why it has been voted one of the top 100 events in North America by the American Bus Association and chosen one of the TOP TWENTY October events for eight consecutive years by SE Tourism Society.
West Point Music Ranch will be getting started the 6th of September. The Country Classics will be at the Opry House beginning at 7:30 p.m. Plans are for quite a variety of music programs, including bluegrass every other Friday night. Watch and listen for details, but for openers it is Country Classics on the sixth. This will be a "Housewarming Concert" with Ribbon Cutting at 7 p.m.
The sixth, or that weekend, must be a magic number. The 23rd Annual Hall of Fame and Uncle Pen Day Festival at Bean Blossom, Indiana, will be Sept. 5-7. A lot there. James Monroe all three days.
Friday: Wayne Lewis, Eddie Adcock, Tim Graves, Dallas Smith and Bob Lewis Family.
Saturday: Jimmy Martin, Country Gentlemen, Larry Sparks, Larry Efaw, Dusty Valley Grass, and Jolina Foster.
Sunday: Sullivan Family, Gary Brewer, Karl Shiplett and Pastor Paul Baggett.
September 6th will also be a good one at Rosine, Ky. An Evening with Randall Hylton. Many of you know what a show that will be. In the Old Barn at 8 p.m.
September is loaded — sort of a last hurrah, I guess. Poppy Mountain Festival at Morehead, Ky., the 16-20th. Just some of those appearing there are Sammy Adkins, Clark Family, Hart Bros., Country Gentlemen, Larry Fuller, Dave Evans, Randall Hylton, Charlie Sizemore, Ralph Stanley, IIIrd Tyme Out and many more. Sounds like a good'un to me.
The 12th and 13th will be the Strictly Bluegrass Festival at Iroquois Park right here in Louisville. I do not have details as I am writing this.
Also there will be a Bud Simpson Memorial Festival sponsored by Tommy Brown the 19th and 20th at Ohio County Park, Hartford, Ky. Tommy Brown and County Line Grass both days, Gary Brewer on Saturday, and others bands. Jim Simpson, MC.
Remember IBMA is coming to town in October with an all-star lineup. More about that one next month.
I had an interesting call during the show last month. Got a call from a good friend, Bill Ray. Bill works on the Belle of Louisville. Among other things and duties, Bill plays the calliope on the boat. At the time of the call, they were upriver nearing Six Mile Island and were listening in the wheelhouse. Capts. Pete O'Connell and Kevin Mullens were there with some others. I put the call on the air and just before finishing the call, Bill asked if they could blow the whistle on the air. Gave it a toot and it came over real well. Had a good response from listeners, too. If you haven't been on the Belle lately, or at all, go take a very pleasant cruise. I think I've got this right – close at least – it is the oldest authentic original paddlewheeler in operation.
OK, that's it for now. Stay tuned and tell your friends and neighbors about Sunday Bluegrass. Each Sunday night from 8–11 p.m., WFPK, 91.9 FM, for bluegrass, traditional and old-time country.
(Just in case you don't already know, Berk Bryant is the host of Sunday Bluegrass, and a dedicated one he is.)