Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Well here we are, or at least I hope we are. Did anything weird happen? Life does go on, and we are launched into the future and it very well could be in your hands. Well, maybe not all of it, but we, you and I, may be given the opportunity to maybe shape some of it. Don’t you think maybe this would be the best time to step out and do your part to get some of those things to happen that you wish would? Sit down, think it over, reassess and decide if you are going to try to help make it happen or just sit there and watch the possibilities “ride off into the sunset.”

Support Bluegrass

For starters, do you really want to see bluegrass music reach a point where it can no longer be ignored/rejected by the so called “mainstream” radio stations? How do we help bluegrass music achieve this? Support, support, support. Support the artists at concerts and in purchase of recordings. Numbers count. Whether it’s$s, how many are in the crowd or how many CDs/tapes are sold, numbers count. Seize the opportunity in this new beginning, this threshold of the future, to ensure that bluegrass music will thrive, continue in the traditional manner well into the NEXT century, beginning right now. Tradition and heritage in all things are very important to the future and must be preserved in the present. The same is especially true regarding traditional and old-time country music. Remembering that bluegrass was originally country music until forced to take on its own identity. If it were not for the past and tradition, there would be no future. Respect it.

Doyle & J.D.

I can’t tell everything from December, as it hasn’t happened yet. This is not a riddle, this is deadline talk. So up to now it has been busy. Saw Doyle Lawson and J.D. Crowe at Shepherdsville. I have an LP by Jimmy Martin I took with me to have J.D. sign. Speaking of Jimmy Martin, do you know what his first LP’s title was? Anyhow, J.D. was the banjo man on this album. The band was pictured on the front and that’s where he signed. They really did a good show, a lot of comment to that effect. Doyle Lawson had an excellent, fun show also.

Radio Show Visitors

Had Bluegrass 101 in on Sunday Bluegrass last month. A lot of calls and a lot of good comments about the band and the show in general. Thanks, folks.

Great Time at the Opry

I went to the Opry on the 19th. It was a really good time. I had the good fortune of going with Jim & Jesse. Had a really good visit with them. They were leaving for Florida at the end of the Opry. Luke is driving the bus now, between him and Jim. He can do it though.

Ralph was there for two nights, Friday and Saturday. Actually it was a big week for Ralph. They recorded three days in Nashville, Wednesday-Friday; two nights on the Opry; and home, Home For The Holidays. Ralph is doing real good, singing good and was playing his banjo on the Opry. Time to get in a bit of much-needed and -deserved rest. For the fans of II, he has a new CD coming in February. Look forward to that.

Got to do some very good visiting with my long-time friend Ray Pillow. When he can get the right stuff together, he wants to record a new double album like he puts it together, do this for his kids and especially his grand kids. Do it, Ray, that’s an excellent goal. Ray’s wife Joann was there and she is recovering and really doing well. Joann had some serious illness this past year. She says she is not quite 100% yet but is really doing well.

A brief chat with Charlie Collins, and Oz is not doing too good. Oz has a birthday coming up in about a week, I think it is, number 88. This is pretty much the news from that visit. So much to remember. Mix the bitter with the sweet and I am still glad I went, still enjoyed it.

Stocking Up on Bluegrass

Well I hope you got a lot of good bluegrass music for Christmas. CDs, videos and that sort of thing in your stocking. We’ll keep it coming to you in the new century so you can get an idea of the new products out, sort of sample on the air and decide which you want to add.

Y2K Bluegrass

Shepherdsville will start the future right, as C.R.[Wilson] tries to do every year. Dr. Ralph Stanley and Tommy Brown & County Line Grass on Jan. 7; IIIRD Tyme Out on Jan 14; Gary Brewer, the 21st; and Dave Evans & River Bend, the 28th. Larry Sparks will be there on Feb. 4.

Deadline Dilemma

I’m not sure if Paul will be overjoyed or, or, or whatever, but there just isn’t that much to pass on at the time I have to do this to get it in on time. Jimmy Martin’s first recording (LP) was titled Good ’N Country. J.D. told me that was their first recording, his and Jimmy’s. That, by the way, is the album I had J.D. sign. It came out back in the ’50s and I think Crowe was about 18. THANKS, J.D., for the information and the autograph.

Thanks from the Country Gentleman

My sincere appreciation for all of you who are dedicated listeners and have been over these last 10 ½ years. Your support, your encouragement, and your extra-kind comments have so often helped to keep me going more than you folks realize. I appreciate all of you. All of you. Stay with me and continue to spread the word of the show as we go forward together, and keep tuned to WFPK, 91.9 FM each Sunday night, 8-11 p.m. for Sunday Bluegrass. Let me know you are there, and I know that you care.

Happy New Year!

Best Wishes To All.