Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

June, here we are again. You and I, we are inseparable. We have been that way for 73 years on the eighth day. There are very few, if any, of those days now past that I would change. Anything changed in any of them would have changed everything that folloWednesday This brings to mind a line from a John Hartford song: "I wouldn't be here if I hadn't been there." Events of our lives are linked like a chain. Each link is necessary for the next link to be added. Many, so many, of those links are formed by friends we have, events of each passing day and none that are weak , or the chain would be broken. "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?"

The circle is complete _

May 15, 2003, another part of the country music legend left this life. Learning of the passing of June Carter Cash, one of my thoughts seemed like an answer, The circle is complete. June Carter, the last of the Carter Sisters, has now taken her place in the circle of family. THE Carter Family, A. P. (D.) Carter, Sara, Maybelle, the originals, carried on by "Mother" Maybelle after a split of the group. Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters. One by one, Mother, Helen, Anita and finally June to join the others. The circle is complete. The original Carter Family, a nearly immeasurable impact on the music of America we have called country. An impact they possibly never realized.

June was the "cut-up" in the group, which is just another way of saying she was the entertainer. I had the distinct privilege of becoming acquainted with Maybelle and the girls many years ago. June, Helen and Anita have been to my mother's home for dinner in the _50s, There are many memories, cherished memories, of the Carters. Will The Circle Be Unbroken? · not now.

Nothing puny here _

The last Friday in April brought the Puny Pickers to West Point. I had heard of this group but had not heard them until then. Let me say this loud and clear, there's NOTHING puny about these pickers. A group of youngsters and their dad, from Front Royal, Va. I found their talent to be impressive. Gina, 15, banjo, guitar, mandolin; Joe, 13, fiddle; Malia, 12, fiddle, guitar, vocals; Teresa, 8, vocals. In their show, more instrumentals than vocals. I am sure that will change. Teresa stepped right up and out there when it was time for a vocal. Her dad remarked,

"There isn't a shy bone in her body." Yes, singing, they sound their age and brought to mind the Peasall Sisters (Oh Brother Where Art Thou?).

All these young performers seem very comfortable on stage. If I remember correctly, they have a background in classical music, starting piano and other instruments at age four. They give you the impression that they have the feel (genes) for music and, thank goodness, it's for bluegrass. They plan to return in October for IBMA. Tom, the father of this magnificent group, plays guitar and declares he can't keep up as he feels he should. He'll do OK. Nope, there is nothing puny about these Puny Pickers.

Live Bluegrass, Live Lunch

Bluegrass 101 made an appearance on WFPK's Live Lunch, Friday, the 16th. The performance studio was full with a very receptive and enthusiastic audience. Scott Mullins commented that this was the first band to get me out for the Live Lunch. Live Lunch is a regular Friday program in the performance studio of Public Radio Partnership. The public is invited. Listen and or call for information.

I think Bluegrass 101 gathered a fair amount of new fans.

Festivals gaining speed in June.

· Regular shows at West Point Music Ranch USA: June 7, Al Hilbert and Lori Jones. June 8, negotiating for a Sunday band. Jun. 14, Kimberly Glynn and Jim Foster. June 21, Kevin Greaves. Jun. 28, Adam Davis.

· Festival of The Bluegrass, Horse Park, Georgetown, Ky.: June 12-15, III TYME Out, Jeannie Kendall, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Lonesome River Band, Seldom Scene, JD Crowe, Mountain Heart, Lewis Family, Valerie Smith, Honi Deaton, Kentucky Blue and more.

· Bill Monroe 37th Bean Blossom Festival, Bean Blossom, Ind., June 15-22.

· Travel some to Charlotte, Mich., June 26-28: The Lonesome River Band, Karl Shiflett, Osborne Bros., Larry Stephenson, Paul Williams, Vince Combs, Dave Evans, Gary Brewer, Larkin Family, Lost & Found, Lewis Family, David Parmley and more.

· If it "ain't" North for you, head East to Summersville, W.V., June 26-29: Osborne Bros, Charlie Waller & Country Gentlemen, Larry Sparks, Doyle Lawson, Melvin Goins, Raymond Fairchild, Kenny Baker & Josh Graves, Dr. Ralph Stanley and many, many more.

Do it now!

We're coming up a little short this month. Want to encourage all of you bluegrass fans to get out there and support our music. Think back over the last 24-36 months and realize how much of the music and music makers you admired have gone on. How many times have you figured you would go the next time and that next time did not come. I get many calls to Sunday Bluegrass wanting to know where they can get a certain song or CD I may have just played. In some cases the only place to get them is from the artists. Take that opportunity, get that CD, get it autographed and take a picture. You've got a heart full of memories of the best kind that will last a lifetime. Sometimes opportunity is tapping at the door, sometimes knocking on the door and sometimes · pounding on the door and a deaf ear can send it away forever.

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Sunday Bluegrass, WFPK 91.9 FM every Sunday night 8-11 and streaming audio to the world at WFPK.org. This week, the first Sunday of June, makes 14 years for this show. THANK you listeners for your support all of this time, thank you for the many, many kind comments regarding the show and thank you staff and management for keeping it.