Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Well, let me think, where do I start? How about, I hope the weather is great by the time you read this. Is that OK for a start? Well, it definitely is if the weather is much better as you are reading this.

I have had quite a bit of exciting correspondence this past month: e-mail, letters and new CDs, also word of CDs to come. Let's start with e-mail from Switzerland, plus a couple of calls.

Krüger Bros.

They will be in Kentucky in June. If you remember - and I hope you do - these guys made quite an impression at IBMA's World of Bluegrass last year. They are tops - tops as artists (that's pickers to most of you) and tops as genuinely good people and friends. I hope you heard them on my show (Sunday Bluegrass, WFPK, 91.9 FM, Sunday nights 8-11) when they were here in October. If you didn't hear them live, you have heard them frequently since as part of my regular show.

Let me tell you when and where they will be as of now: Merlefest '99, April 29-May 2, Wilkesboro, N.C.; and Fiddler's Grove, May 29 in Union Grove, N.C. At the latter event they have been requested to appear as Special Guest for their 75th anniversary (not the Krügers' but the festival's). They were requested to present the European heritage of American Old Time and Bluegrass Music to festival-goers. Then on to Lake Eden Arts Festival May 30 at Black Mountain, N.C.; Stanton Bluegrass Camp, Stanton, Ky.

I quote from the mail, "Faye King, holder of a Kentucky State Grant to educate children in the schools using Bluegrass Music has hired the Krüger Brothers because of their unique ability to combine original European roots with American Bluegrass music. A Swiss band is going to Kentucky to teach American pickers about bluegrass . . . think about it!"

Go to the Festival of the Bluegrass '99 at the Horse Park in Lexington, and find out what all the fuss is about. They will be appearing as Special Guest. Jens Krüger received high praises from Banjo Newsletter in January '99. Bill Evans - most of you know who he is - wrote the following about Jens: "This year's (1998) most exciting discovery for American audiences was the Swiss banjo player Jens Krüger, who along with his guitarist brother Uwe, dazzled audiences at Merlefest '98 and the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) World of Bluegrass Trade & Award Show with his complete mastery of everything banjo from clawhammer to bluegrass and beyond."

They have asked to be on my show again and all I can say is YOU BETCHA! Currently Jens is finishing his third solo CD. The brothers will be recording a new CD while in North Carolina. That's all I can say about that now.

Jett Williams

I recently contacted Jett Williams, at least her manager/office. I expressed a desire to have Jett participate on a future show by phone or however. I received a very nice letter and promo package including her CD, pictures and book. Well, I am sure there will be disagreement among us, but after listening to the CD I happen to think it is one of if not probably the best female country release I have heard in years. I do emphasize "country." You will be hearing it on the show. Songs include title song "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry,""I Am What I Am" (one of my favorites), "I Can Two Step Too,""I'm No Stranger to the Blues." A total of eleven in all and only three of which are her dad's songs. Sounding better, getting better all the time. Be sure to listen because I'll have her on some night when you least expect it. Jett Williams.

Country Quiz

While we're here, talking 'bout country, name the song and artist listed in the top 100 singles between 1944-1996 at 54 weeks in the top 40 and 53 weeks in the top 10, not to mention 19 weeks as No. 1. Somewhere in here you will find the answer.

Looking Ahead

More coming events and happenings: Wade Mainer will celebrate his 92nd birthday this month. A big celebration is planned in Fenton, Mich., at the Fenton Community Center. You're invited if you would like to go. It will be April 24 at 1 p.m. The event is sponsored by Virgel Shouse and John Morris (Old Homestead Records). A $5 donation is suggested. Old-time country music and many bands will be featured. If I have my guess, I'll bet Wade and Julia will perform. For those of you who may not know, Wade Mainer is one of the pioneers of the music. He started his recording career in the early '30s.

In the area, for April, I don't know as I am writing this. One exception: Bullitt C.B. Radio League & Ky. Triple A's C.B. Club Jamboree, Bullitt County Fairgrounds, April 10, 12 noon till ?? Among all other activities, they promised me there would be bluegrass music. This event is free.

In Cullman, Ala., April 2-3, Charlie Waller and Country Gentlemen, Mac Wiseman, Osborne Bros., Dr. Ralph and many others.

May 7-9 at Denton Farm Park, Denton, N.C., Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver Bluegrass Music Festival with DL&Q, Osborne Bros., Randall Hylton, Goins Bros., Lewis Family, Jeanette Williams, J.D. Crowe and more.

April 29-30 and May 1, Lewis Family Homecoming and Bluegrass Festival, Elijah Clark State Park, Hwy. 378, Lincolnton, Ga. There will be Ralph Stanley, Doyle Lawson, IIIRD Tyme Out, Osbornes, Jim & Jesse, Jimmie Davis, The Marksmen, among others.

May 14, mark it down now. Leroy Troy is coming to West Point. Calling all LT fans: Be there. Leroy called me the day I was writing this just to be sure, but wasn't too surprised to find out I already knew.

Guessing Game

Oh, before I forget, if you are still guessing the 54-53-19 weeks things earlier on: Eddy Arnold "Bouquet of Roses," and placed at number 6 in the top 100 singles, as mentioned above.

I think this is about all I've got for now. If anything comes up I'll let you know. You know when and you know where: 91.9 FM Sunday night between 8-11 p.m.