Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Spring, oh spring, we welcome you with great joy and anticipation of a re-awakening of flowers, sunshine, the freshness that you bring, the greening of the trees and earth, the feeling of a new day, a fresh start and all of the individual delights of the fresh new season. Take a deep breath of spring, a comforting dose of sunshine, rejuvenate ... and let's MOVE ON!

Where's the Beef?

Thinking back to an item in the March 7 Courier-Journal, "Louisville officials list a flock of festivals," among many others there is Thunder Over Louisville on April 12, Pegasus Parade on May 1, etc., etc., St. James Court Art Show Oct. 3-5, Brown & Williamson's Light Up Louisville on Nov. 28, etc. Do you notice anything missing here? Anything apparently NOT worthy of the city folks to include in the events of the seasons? Ignore it and maybe it will go away.

There is an obvious shun of an October event (actually this year Sept. 29 - Oct. 5) that brings a mere 20,000 folks from all over the country and the world together for a week! It is the INTERNATIONAL Bluegrass (dirty word applied to music) Music Association World of Bluegrass Trade Show and Fan Fest.

Fan Fest? You mean there are actually fans (honest-to-God, real, live, honest people of all ages) that will travel farther than across town for BLUEGRASS music? Don't really know why you would want folks such as these lawyers, doctors, college professors, honest, hard-working people and a healthy flock of retired citizens coming in here with THAT music they play. Think just for a second - you can spare a second - and realize none of these folks can get by on less than - and really not that -- $200-300 bucks for the week. Multiply that by the 20,000 plus of them that do attend and, well, hardly worth mentioning them, is it? Why don't some of you folks come down and meet us and find out who we really are?

The Big Jump

Another of our traditional country names at the Grand Ole Opry departed last month. "Jumping" Bill Carlisle. Always put on a show full of energy. As the years advanced, Bill's favorite comment was "I can jump just as high as I always did; I just can't stay up as long." Well Bill, you've made the big jump and I'm sure this time you'll stay up forever. Another void in show biz entertainment that is losing "entertainment."

Successful Fund Drive

Our Public Radio Partnership (PRP) Spring Fund Drive last month was a success. A big success, according to the powers that be at the station. Our sincere thanks go out to all of you for your support. A special thanks on my part to Dr. Ralph Stanley. It is no secret that I am a fan, supporter and friend of Ralph. It was an honor to have Ralph on Sunday Bluegrass that night by phone. The support and encouragement he gave was more than I could ever have hoped for.

Begin your game plan

Several festivals will be getting underway in a sort of kick-off. Let's go start in May. Just to name a couple or so for now:

¦ Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver's Bluegrass Musical Festival, May 9-11.

¦ Ralph Stanley's 33rd Memorial Bluegrass Festival, May 22-24.

¦ Rosine. I had something that must have gone to the notorious "black hole" about this festival. Will have that later.

Among many others, these are just a few that will jump-start the season. Attend the one of your choice.

We get around

We, Public Radio, have been streaming audio for some time now. It is most encouraging to get e-mails from across the ocean to across the country. From England to Oregon and many places in between.

Immediate future schedules

¦ Music Ranch USA, West Point, Ky.: April 4, Rock from the '60s and '70s by the Silver Eagle Band, Glasgow. April 5, Dickie "Butterbeans" Moore and Amanda Hill. April 12, Jim Foster and Christiana Lawrence. April 19, East to West Gospel Quartet from Brandenburg. April 25, The Puny Pickers from Front Royal, Va. April 26, Mark Brown.

¦ Shepherdsville Country Music Show wind-up shows: April 3 (THURSDAY), the annual Lewis Family and Jesse McReynolds Festival: Luke McKnight & the Virginia Boys. April 4, NO SHOW. April 11, Melvin Goins & Windy Mountain and Tommy Brown & County Line Grass. April 18, The Cumberland Highlanders. April 25, Jimmy Bowen & Santa Fe.

That's all, folks

Well, friends, readers and listeners. I suppose this is all the grief and damage I can spread for this time. Not all that much happening in the last month, but look out for what's coming. Our invite to be a listener every Sunday night, WFPK 91.9 FM, for Sunday Bluegrass, 8-11. It is bluegrass, traditional country and old-time country. DO IT!