Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

There's been quite a lot going on since the last deadline. The weather has certainly offered living proof that this is summertime. Storms and blanket weather; it feels like someone grabs you with a very warm blanket when you step out the door. I remember it was like that when I was in Texas one time.

Festival Time in " Charlotte"

Among other things, I made a trip to Charlotte (that's one syllable to us and two syllables to them), Mich. It was festival time and we had the obligatory rain. Thankfully, it was Thursday and pretty much did itself out that day. Some really great acts and moments took place. XXXA very special moment for me and the crowd happened on Friday. Wade and Julia Mainer came down to visit. I introduced them on stage and the audience gave them all of the respect they deserved. Many folks came around to personally have a word with them and express their feelings for them. I hope it can and will happen again. They would have played a couple of guest numbers but Julia wasn't feeling quite up to it. Bless her heart, Wade wanted to, but did not push. Maybe another time. Wade, by the way, is 96 and dear Julie is • er, uh, um, ah • younger than her husband. Wonderful people and just a rare treat and honor to be around them. Bless you, my dear friends. XXXNow getting down to + okay, I admit it, I have not been a real big fan of + The Lonesome River Band. They were there and I have to say this now + my LRB meter shot way up. First, their last CD was one if not the best one of theirs I have heard. There have been some changes in the group. Sammy Shelor is still pretty much the lead guy. When I introduced them I mentioned the latest CD and how they were back to bluegrass more than they had been. Not only that, they did one of the best shows I have ever seen them do. Sammy made an appreciative remark and then on with the show. They were a huge hit with the crowd. Keep up the good work, guys. Gary Brewer reached out and touched many. I heard many outstanding comments about Gary's show. I feel certain he, as well as LRB, will be back in Michigan next year. Gary and the Ramblers really fed them just what that audience was looking for, or should I say listening for. Keep up the good work, Gary.

New Festival in Shelbyville

There was the start-up of a festival at Buffalo Crossing at Shelbyville, Ky., last month. Performing were Kentucky Blue, Storefront Congregation, IIIRD Tyme Out and others to whom I must apologize for not recalling the names now. It is a great site for a festival. As far as I could tell, everyone connected with it was pleased, which in turn increases the prospects of a return event next year and many more to follow, let's hope. I have seen this happen before, but not quite like it seemed this time. Had a little storm put in an appearance and of course cut a little short the band that was on and sent spectators scurrying for shelter. Immediately following the "storm break," the audience seemed to stream back into the concert just as quickly as they left and all in good spirits. Now that's a good audience.

Nash Signs the Colonel and Elvis

Not so much bluegrass, but an interesting book signing at Hawley-Cooke Booksellers on Shelbyville Road on the fifteenth. Alanna Nash was there reading, talking, answering questions and signing her new book, "The Colonel & Elvis." The book is about Col. Tom Parker and reflects a lot of interesting research. Attendance was very good. A good job, Ms. Nash.

Looking Ahead

Turning in the other direction, now let's look ahead. XXX• The Heartland Festival will be at Freeman Lake in Elizabethtown August 29-30. Will give the details here via an e-mail I received: XXXA bluegrass music concert, featuring Lonesome River Band, will kick off this year's Kentucky Heartland Festival in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The event will take place on Friday evening, August 29th, 7 p.m. at Freeman Lake Park, which is located off Highway 31W North in Elizabethtown. We will also have bluegrass music on Saturday afternoon from 1:30 p.m. till 5:30 p.m. featuring Storefront Congregation and Bluegrass 101. XXXIf possible we would like to get both these events include in your Bluegrass Beat column in the Louisville Music News. I have attached a photo and flier which gives all the information about the concert. XXXIf we need to supply you with more information, please let me know. We look forward to hearing from you concerning our request. XXXThanks, XXXBeverley Kidd XXXElizabethtown Chamber of Commerce XXXKentucky Heartland FestivalXXXThis year on Saturday, rather than go with the talent contest, it will be the two bands mentioned, alternating through the afternoon. I don't think I need tell you about Bluegrass 101 or Storefront Congregation. Other than a $2 parking charge, you can't beat the price. This should be an excellent family outing. Kids can play, families can picnic and everybody can sit back, relax and ENJOY bluegrass music.

Enter Miss Emma

I re-established contact with a musician friend met years ago in Michigan. A lady whom several Sunday Bluegrass listeners over the years have taken a liking to after hearing her material on the show. Many have told me + or I should say thanked me + for introducing artists new to them such as Emma Smith. Miss Smith writes some really good numbers, many of which are gospel and records them for Old Homestead Records, Brighton, Mich. Her newest is all-gospel and, I think, written by Emma. She tells me that she has another CD of original numbers about Kentucky ready and hopes for a soon release. Emma Smith, thanks very much for keeping me updated and for listening to the show.XXXA few hot spots: XXX• August 9, Indiana State Fair Fiddle Contest, Indianapolis, Ind.XXX• August 9, The "Harold Austin" Festival, Highway 127 north of Russell Springs, Ky. I don't have a complete lineup except for Russell Wilson.XXX• Milan Bluegrass Festival, Milan, Mich., Aug 7-9. Lonesome River Band, Bob Paisley and Southern Grass, Osborne Bros.,The Lost & Found, S & S Express, Karl Shiflett, The Lewis Family, The Lilly Bros., Melvin Goins, Dave Evans, J.D. Crowe, Flint River Boys, Rhonda Vincent and more.XXX• August 13-16, Wheel Inn Campground, Leslie, Mich., Goldwing Express, IIIRD Tyme Out, Rock County, Gary Waldrip, Ronnie Reno & Reno Tradition, Chapmans, Larkin Family, Lynwood Lunsford and more.XXX• Bluegrass On The Square, Corydon, Ind., August 16, Bluegrass 101 and the Corn Bros. XXXBrown County Fairgrounds, Georgetown, Ohio, Aug 21-23, IIIRD Tyme Out, Ronnie Reno & Reno Tradition, Lewis Family, Melvin Goins, David Davis & Warrior River Boys, Wildfire, David Peterson & 1946, Gary Brewer and many more.XXXThat's enough for August. Keep listening to Sunday Bluegrass; spread the word to your e-mail friends to get us on the stream and keep going to those festivals. That's what summer is for! Our public radio fund drive is coming up soon, so just be expecting it. But for the shortest, fastest and bestest three hours in radio, make it Sunday Bluegrass, every Sunday night from 8-11, WFPK 91.9 FM.