Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Whooo! That January was something. As an old gag goes: They tell us that the sun is nine million miles from the earth. Four or five times last month I thought it was a lot farther than that. Thankfully, the latest official weather guess was overstated a couple of times, especially regarding snow.

Sad Farewell to Jim McReynolds

New Year's eve, as most of you know by now, another of the legends of bluegrass was taken from us. Jim McReynolds passed on just two weeks after his wife suffered a massive heart attack. I sent a note to their daughter, my buddy Janeen. As in my first note, I told her I really did not know what to say. I really felt so bad for her.

She knows how much I liked and respected her dad. The reply I received from her really made me feel much better. Actually, this note is to all of us. Read it and be inspired, enough to show it to your family. With her permission, I want to share that inspiring note she sent:

Hey Berk, Thanks so much for your e-mail. It helps to know how much other people thought of my Dad also. I was blessed to have wonderful parents for 30 years. Now they are in heaven together and I will get to see them again one day. It is very hard to give them up, especially since we were such a close family. I am thankful for every minute I spent with them and gladly have no regrets. They knew how much I loved them and I know how much they loved me. I will always miss them, but they will always be a part of who I am until we meet again. For now I will take one day at a time and trust the Lord to show me His plan for my life. Thanks again for your thoughtfulness. Love, Janeen

There is nothing I can or should add to that.

Cold Night, Hot Show

January brought Dr. Ralph Stanley to Shepherdsville on a cold night. What a show it was! Opened by Tommy Brown and the County Line Grass. In the Grammy Awards this year, Ralph and Ralph II, have made history. It is the first time a father and son have been nominated in the same category for separate recordings. Ralph's nomination is for the Jim Lauderdale & Ralph Stanley CD, Lost In The Lonesome Pines. Ralph for the Columbia CD, RALPH STANLEY. Ralph Stanley II for Stanley Blues. As always, a great show from Dr. Ralph and the Clinch Mountain Boys.

It doesn't end there. James Alan Shelton, super lead guitar for Ralph, also has a nomination for his CD, For Greta. CONGRATULATIONS to all of you for an honor well deserved. Got to remember to watch that show.

Plan Ahead for Hank

The New Year's Day Hank Williams show drew many thanks, support and groans. Yes, I said groans. These came from folks who either didn't know about it, or forgot. Okay, here's what to do: Find a calendar, large or small , and on the space following December 31, make a big circle, square or whatever. Make a note "H.W. show." That will be from noon to four on WFPK 91.9 FM. Should there be any change, you will be informed on Sunday Bluegrass, 8-11 Sunday nights.

Feudin', A-fussin' and A-fightin'

Also had a show featuring the true and factual story of the Hatfields and McCoys. A lot of very good feedback concerning that show, with remarks such as "I learned a lot about the feud," and "That was real interesting." There were also questions about the recording and where it could be obtained. I would suggest maybe starting with the Pike County Tourism office.

Bluegrass is A-comin'

Who's in our area in the next few weeks? Here they are:


Music Ranch USA, West Point: Feb. 1, Al Hilbert, Lorie Jones, and Stephany Boyd. Feb. 7, Bluegrass Gospel, Fresh Cut Grass. Feb. 8, LeGarde Twins, Tim & Tom, plus Sharon. Feb. 15, Theresa Dunn & C.T. Robinson. Feb. 21, Gospel, including Music Ranch Gospel Trio. Feb. 22, Kentucky Sisters.


Shepherdsville Music Place: Feb. 7, Wildwood Valley Boys. Feb. 14, Mike Snider (Grand Ole Opry). Feb. 21, David Peterson & 1946. Feb. 28, James Monroe & Midnight Ramblers.

Enough for now

Stay tuned for further developments. Tuned, that is, to WFPK 91.9 FM., Sunday night, 8-11 for Sunday Bluegrass, featuring bluegrass, traditional country and old-time country music. Don't forget to inform all of your e-mail friends, especially those out of the area, that they too can listen. Go to the web site,, click on "listen now" and follow instructions. Y'all be careful now. And stay warm.

How did that happen?

My friend Bob Mitchell comes in to the Sunday show from time to time to review some favorite CDs. He was there on the 19th and had mentioned that he had a surprise for me. Bob gave me a "package," wrapped in newspaper due to a last minute quick-wrap. He had told me it was something he was sure I would like to have for my collection. As I felt it while unwrapping it, I asked him if this was something that went back to his daughter's days with the station. Affirmative. (Debbie was in the promotions bit.) Incidentally, this time period was ten-plus years ago, and my show was on WFPL at that time.

I finished the unwrap and, sure enough, there was a T-shirt with the words Sunday Bluegrass and the WFPL logo on the front. On the back was my trademark show-closer "It's Time To Go Get A Doughnut." I had to smile as I opened the shirt I was wearing to reveal to Bob that I had on one of those shirts I had kept from back then. I had not worn it for about ten years at least. Not sure which was the biggest surprise, the shirt or the coincidence!