Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Well now, I guess fall/autumn, that time of the year (your choice) is here. Well, that's OK. Now all the fall things can happen: football, leaves, those end-of-summer SALES, festivals, leaves, some pretty cool nights and days, new rakes and leaves in two stages — beautiful colors on the trees and not so beautiful on the ground. This, of course, leads to hardware or department stores featuring lawn rakes, sweeps or, as some folks used to call them, lawn brooms. That can also lead to the joy of some and the scourge of others when the air is filled with the scent of burning leaves. A good indication that Halloween is almost here. And then there is THANKSGIVING , the forgotten holiday. Thanksgiving, which when I was a kid was just about as big a deal as Christmas. We won't go there for now.

October Cornucopia

Aside from what was just mentioned, October provides a cornucopia of events to look forward to. I get to make a trip with my good friend Randall Hylton. Then the week following that I will guide a tour for a group at the Patton Museum, and make my annual trek to the Museum of Appalachia, Norris, Tenn. It's going to be going from one museum to another and if that keeps up I will begin to feel more like a museum piece than I already do. Will get back from Norris barely in time for IBMA to start, and that runs a week.

Hylton & Waller

OK, now's the time to break all of this down a bit. I will be joining Randall for a trip to a show date in the Cincinnati area. We will come back Sunday, and Randall has been gracious enough to consent to staying over and being on my show that night, the 8th. He has done this several times and it is always such a special treat for me and our listeners when he does. I had e-mailed Randall and asked if he had anything in the way of an update on Charlie Waller. I received a note from him just minutes before starting to write this — at the last minute before deadline, I might add. This is what he had to say, "Worked with the Country Gentlemen on Friday night in Glenmont, Ohio, and Charlie Waller's 40-year-old son, Randy, fronted the band.

"They sang all the songs — ‘Matterhorn,' ‘Fox,' ‘Little Bessie,' ‘Two Little Boys.' I thought he sounded great. His voice is deeper and more resonant than Charlie's, but his voice control is superb. This guy can really sing, and he looks exactly like Charlie." For any of you who may not have heard, Charlie Waller, of the Country Gentlemen, had a severe stroke about six weeks ago. By the way, and before I forget it: Of Webb Pierce's many No. 1 hits, which one was his first? Which one stayed at No. 1 for the most weeks and how many weeks was that?

A Top Event in Tennessee

Time for the (from the brochure) Museum of Appalachia Tennessee Fall Homecoming at Norris, Tenn. Voted one of the TOP 100 EVENTS in North America by the American Bus Assn. And chosen one of the TOP TWENTY October events in the Southeast for 11 years by the SE Tourism Society. One of the nation's largest and most authentic old-time mountain, craft, and music festivals involving over 400 musicians and Appalachian mountain folk, including five National Heritage Fellowship award Winners, said to be the most ever assembled for one event. They are: Kenny Baker, Ralph Stanley, Robert Spicer, Bea Hensley, and Will Keys. (End of brochure quotes.)

The main event is October 12-15. This would be a great event for a school trip. It is a great opportunity and experience for children. Wednesday, the 11th, is Student Day, with music and activities planed especially for children. Other acts to be there include Earl Scruggs (2 p.m. Sunday), Ralph Stanley, John Hartford, Mac Wiseman, Raymond Fairchild, Doyle Lawson, Leroy Troy and so many others including Louisville-area's Bill Stewart Family. Bill Stewart, brother to Gene and Redd Stewart, was once known as the youngest old-time fiddler on the Grand Ole Opry at the tender age of 16. Did I get that right, Bill?

With that said, Bob Douglas, who in the last few months made his first appearance on the Opry, will be there. Bob, by the way, is far and away from 16; Mr. Douglas is 100. For additional information call 865-494-7680 or -0514. If you prefer you can e-mail me at and I will be glad to provide any additional information I can.

Cruisin' with the Krugers

And the excitement just keeps on building for October. Our friend and informant Bill Ray from the Belle — everybody's Belle, the BELLE OF LOUISVILLE — provides me a lot of good and exciting information from time to time. How about this for starters: The Kruger Bros., yes that's right, those brothers from Switzerland, as in big mountains and deep snow, chocolate, cheese, knives and watchmakers, will again be on the Spirit of Jefferson for a cruise Oct. 18. Yes, it is during IBMA week. These are the guys who are just amazing the audiences wherever they appear. The cruise was so good last year that it is easy to see why it is happening again. If you didn't make it, don't miss it this year. Boarding will be from 7:30-8 p.m.; cruise from 8-10 p.m. Cost is $12 per person. For more information call 574-2992. Folks, let me tell you this: Watching the audience last year was worth the price of the cruise.

Here Comes the IBMA!

IBMA World of Bluegrass Trade Show and Fan Fest will be at the Galt House Oct. 16-22. The Fan Fest dates are the 20th - 22nd. The performers this year include Del McCoury, IIIRD Tyme Out, Lonesome River Band, Doyle Lawson, Mountain Heart, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Karl Shiflett, and Dale Ann Bradley, JUST to name a feeew. The list is too long. Folks, this is one of the big bluegrass events of the year to bring together musicians, vendors, fans, record label representatives, DJs and the business, business people. There is an enormous amount of things to see, hear, learn and just do. IBMA, Galt House, Louisville, Ky., October 16-22 and Fan Fest Oct. 20-22.

And There's More

Other activities of interest:

• Music Ranch USA at West Point will have its regular Saturday night shows. Things are going well there for the country fans.

• Shepherdsville will again open its doors for Friday night Bluegrass, starting with John Cosby and the Bluegrass Drifters on the 27th, with Tommy Brown on Nov. 3 and Dale Ann Bradley and Coon Creek on Nov. 10.

Get Well Soon

Must mention a Get Well and continued improvement wishes to Tommy Brown and Bob Johnson. Tommy had a bout with a kidney stone that curtailed his activities for a short period early last month. Bob Johnson, the furniture man many of you know from his dedication as a music fan, had a serious motorcycle accident just four days before this writing. A bad scene. And Bob, prayers and best wishes go out for you. Get over it.

It's in the (e)-mail

Guess it's about time to save all of this, gather it together in a way that a punch of the send button will get to the folks in time for this edition.

OH, before I go, a great big sincere thanks to all of the friends and listeners who supported Sunday Bluegrass and Public Radio Partnership in general during the fund drive this past month. Webb's first No. 1 hit, in case you are wondering, WAS "Wondering." "In The Jailhouse Now" at No. 1 for 21 weeks! And you thought I was going to forget. Will see you on the radio each Sunday night, 8-11, on WFPK 91.9 FM. Spread that around, will you?