Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

JUNE IS HERE, JUNE is here, June is, well you know, Father's Day, brides, festivals, and just so you would know, for whatever reason, it just happens to be my birthday. So there. Now let's get down to the business at hand: writing all of this down for you to read, with my thanks.

Bad, Bad Leroy Troy

Saw Leroy Troy last month at Music Ranch USA, West Point. Leroy doing his usual fine and entertaining show. When I asked, it looked as if about half of the audience was seeing him for the first time. I always enjoy folks who are seeing a really good act for the first time. They don't always know what to expect and usually leave well pleased. Such was the case that night at West Point.

Leroy shared the stage part of the time with good friends and pickers who came to visit. Bill Ray, one of the fine guys on the Belle of Louisville, did three good numbers. A longer-time friend of Leroy, Doc Willhite from Calhoun, Ky., took a spot and really stirred the audience. All three, romping, stomping, don't-hold-back, wide-awake entertainers. Doc is a doc and if he gives his patients as good a treatment as he does an audience, his sick people are soon full of pep and vitality.

A couple of interesting and good-for-you tidbits I picked up concerning Leroy. He is going to record for Rounder Records. Rounder, the label that features much of the great old-time-type artists and artists that are tops on my list. Folks like the Dry Branch Fire Squad, Laurie Lewis, J.D. Crowe and so many favorites of mine and many of our listeners. Leroy, you're gonna be in good company.

There's more! Leroy will receive the Heritage Award at Uncle Dave Macon Days in Murfreesboro, Tenn., this July. I am not too sure about this, but I think this award is given in recognition of dedication to the preserving of old-time music. Leroy certainly deserves that. I have heard him introduced as Uncle Dave Macon reincarnated. I am also convinced that Leroy Troy should be a full member of the Grand Ole Opry. I have heard other artists express that same sentiment. Leroy, you and your three good friends did a great job and do a great job. Will see you at Norris, Tenn., in October and hopefully before.

More Good Stuff

Stay with me now, there's more. Josh Williams, that fantastic young banjo picker who came on the scene a few years ago and began picking everything in sight, is in for some big changes. On May 22, Josh played his last concert with his band High Gear at Benton, Ky. Josh, now 18, graduated from high school May 21, then moved on to join the Special Consensus the next week. Quite a step. As I understand it, they had been after him for a while and, much to his credit, he was wise enough to finish high school.

College, well, for the time being Josh is going to pursue his first love, music. BLUEGRASS MUSIC. Now before you jump too quick, college is not ruled out, just sort of on hold for a while. I have thought at times that maybe that is not such a bad idea. After all, at that point most have been hitting the books for twelve or so years straight and are a bit studied up. This also gives the young person a chance to reevaluate, get a better perspective of what it's all about and have a much better reason for going for the sheepskin than simply that's what you're supposed to do. Josh, my friend, sincere best wishes in your endeavor, and may you be guided in all of the right ways. You are a fine young man, one your parents are justifiably proud of, and will stay that way.

Berry Good News . . .

More goodies concerning another friend. John Berry of Flaherty, formerly an Opryland performer and member of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, bass player and bass singer, is now doing a bluegrass show on WULF, 94.3 FM in Radcliff, Ky., Saturday mornings from 9-10 a.m. Give John a listen; he is doing a good show.

Knowing John shares my likes for the traditional country music, let's put in our question for the month right here: His first chart hit, No.1 for 6 weeks with a popular female singer, was July 7, 1953. Not the question. His "alter ego" was invented for him to have someone to talk to on the air when he was a DJ. The alter ego charted at No. 2 for 3 weeks, Nov. 3, 1958, with a novelty song. Know who it was by name(s) and what the song was? He is still around today. Yes he was a member of the Opry. But as I was saying earlier, tune John Berry in Saturday morning. Tell him I told you to.

Festival and Show Stuff

June 24-26, Bardstown Bluegrass Music Festival presented by C.R. Wilson & A.R. White. White Acres Campground in Bardstown, Ky. Friday only for two shows, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Saturday only, Sam Wilson and the Bluegrass Colonels with Mike Lilly and Wendy Miller. Friday and Saturday, Blue Tradition, Bluegrass 101, The Sunnysiders (all gospel), Fresh Cut Grass and others. Friday 8 p.m. until ?? Saturday, noon 'til ???

June 10-13, The Festival of the Bluegrass at the Horse Park, Lexington. The Dillards, Seldom Scene, Lewis Family, IIIRD Tyme Out, J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Pam Gadd, Kruger Bros. (Switzerland), Kentucky Blue, and others.

June 15-20, Bean Blossom, Ind., featured acts include Dr. Ralph Stanley & Clinch Mountain Boys, Reno Bros., Charlie Sizemore, Doyle Lawson, Jimmy Martin, Osborne Bros., Larry Sparks, Lynn Morris Band, Jim & Jesse, J.D. Crowe, James Monroe, Gary Brewer and many, many others. June 24-27, the Charlotte, Mich., Bluegrass Festival, the oldest continuous bluegrass festival in Michigan, this year being the 27th annual. Among the many performers there, Lost & Found, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Jim & Jesse, Dale Ann Bradley, The Lewis Family, David Davis & The Warrior River Boys.

Time to go get a donut?

Well I guess that is enough for this time. You didn't miss the answer - not yet. The song was "Country Music Is Here To Stay" by Simon Crum, the alter ego of-of---of, Ferlin Husky. Now y'all stay tuned each Sunday night to WFPK, 91.9 FM, for Sunday Bluegrass and you will be hearing all of this and more. Keep in touch. My line during the show: 574-1753.