Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

It's spring, it's SPRING ... not so fast, calendar says it is May, soon to be June; weather man says it's Spring, flowers are really blooming, the thermometer is reading 30-something in the morning. Wasn't it near 80 a few days ago? What's going on here? Well, I ain't gonna chalk this one up to Spring Fever. I don't know, but I do hope this situation settles down real soon. There are festivals to attend.

Derby Dinner Picks a Winner

Went to Derby Dinner's "Honky Tonk Angels" show. You know, if you haven't been over there lately - or at all - you really should go. This was a real winner, just as all I have attended were. The cast of three terrific ladies gave a stellar performance. Stevy Rhodehamel, Corrine Grover (both making their Derby Dinner debut) and Melissa Combs proved to be excellent casting. The three ladies were independently headed for Nashville and were brought together on a Greyhound. It didn't take long for them to decide to form a trio and become the Honky Tonk Angels.

Many of the top recognizable tunes of the era were presented with enthusiastic high energy. There were plenty of laughs, great singing and a very pleased audience. Now what more could you ask?

One of the "bits" that stuck with me, and made me think Little Roy Lewis should see it, involved Angela (Melissa Combs). Costumed in a tight miniskirt, she provided a wonderful bit of comedy in her attempt (a discreet attempt) to pick up dropped "items."

One of the members of the band is Bud Meredith. Bud is a fiddle player - probably known to many of you - who is going strong at 83. He joined us at our table before the show and was quite enjoyable. He likes to fiddle with Art Stamper and has a lot of stories. May you fiddle for years to come, Bud.

Actually, I think about all I need to say is: Derby Dinner, keep up the good work. It was a most entertaining evening. Thank you!

Second Chance

If I were to ask, would you be one of those who would have to say you missed the "Down From The Mountain" tour earlier this year? Take heart, fans, it is going to happen again, and this time right here in River City. Yea. When was the last time you had the opportunity to see Dr. Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, The Whites, Del McCoury, Alison Krauss and Union Station with Dan Tyminsky, Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs and others on the same show, at the same place, at the same time? When will this opportunity come around again? See what I'm getting at. Don't miss the summer kick-off tour at Freedom Hall on June 25 at 7:30 sharp, and they emphasize sharp. Better get tickets now, if you still can. Featuring music from the sound track of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," now with over 5,000,000 copies sold (and recently I heard 6,000,000). Don't miss it this time.


Well, I see that IBMA Headquarters/Offices are moving to Nashville. Now, GET THIS STRAIGHT, did NOT say that Fan Fest, IBMA World of Bluegrass held in Louisville is moving, so don't start a rumor. We all know there are more than enough unfounded rumors running wild about most anything you can think of as it is. I just hope the influence of Nashville doesn't rub off, and before we know it bluegrass will become as unrecognizable as "country" has. There are already a few inclinations in that direction. The instruments do not make the music.

Festival Season

· June 7 & 8, New Haven, Ky.: Friday, Reynolds Family Band and 90 Proof. Saturday, Iron Horse, Blue Tradition, Bluegrass 101, Inquire Within Band, Sammy Adkins & Sandy Hook Mountain Boys, and Boone Mill Boys.

· June 6-9, Festival of the Bluegrass, Kentucky Horse Park: Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, IIIRD Tyme Out, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Karl Shiflett & Big Country, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Lonesome River Band, Seldom Scene, Mountain Heart, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, Lewis Family, Kentucky Blue, Wildfire, The 1946 Band, Ernie Thacker, The Moron Bros., and Billie Renee' & Cumberland Gap. More info:

· June 21 & 22, A.R. White & Family 8th Annual Bardstown Bluegrass Festival: Friday, Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys, Gary Brewer & Kentucky Ramblers, Dean Osborne & Eastbound, Inquire Within, and Bluegrass Connection. Saturday, David Parmley & Continental Divide, Gary Brewer, Bluegrass Connection, Melanie & Mace Belfiore.

· June 20-22, Charlotte Bluegrass Festival, Charlotte, Mich.: The Osborne Bros., Village Singers, Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show, The Flint River Boys, Jim & Jesse, Larry Stephenson Band, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Bobby Hutch & Grand Ole Country, R&L Express, Jericho Road, Misty Valley Boys, The Travelers & Melvin Goins.

· June 25, Kick-off of Down From The Mountain Tour at Freedom Hall, Louisville.

Wrapping Up

I suppose I had better get this in to the editor. You know how fussy they can be about these deadlines. In the meantime, keep tuned to WFPK, Sunday nights, 8-11. Any changes, I'll let you know there. It's Sunday Bluegrass, it IS bluegrass, traditional country and old-time country. Spread the word to your friends and neighbors wherever they may be. With an Internet hookup we can be heard around the globe. Go to and follow instructions to get the stream. E-mail me during the show: See ya at a festival, I hope.