Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

February, you acted more like the lion of March. Your fickle weather that teased us with the possible coming of Spring by showing "mild" days. In this case mild is a relative term and meaning that 40 seemed mild. You lured us into a little false weather security and BAM! "Oops, that's Emeril's exclamation, so I'll got for WHAM. Yes, February, you let us have it with three or four days of what you had been saving for an icy, snowy, Brrrr cold day or three. As I am writing this, our trees in the back have been encased in ice for at least three days. There was a slightly bright side: The squirrels were fun to watch as they tried to devour the bird feeders. They had to stretch to reach and in so doing the icy branches sent them slipping and sliding. As I looked out and the landscape was pretty much as it had been for several days, streets covered with ice hidden by a layer of snow and very little traffic, it just seemed like God wanted us, everything, to slow down for a bit. And we did.

More Sorrow

It has happened again this past month. A dear sweet lady, loved as much by multitudes of friends and fans across the country as by her own family, passed on: Pauline "Mom" Lewis, devoted mother, grandmother, friend and wife of 77 years to Roy "Pop" Lewis. My friend Bill Knowlton forwarded me this message from Mom's granddaughter Sherri Easter. It is so well said that I would like to share it here:

Dear Friends, This morning, Saturday, February 8, at approximately 7 a.m., Sheri's Grandma, affectionately known to all Lewis Family fans as "Mom," died at the age of 92. She and Pop had celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary on October 25, 2002 and were blessed to have had 8 children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a woman of God, with great faith that she passed on to her family and will be deeply missed. Arrangements are pending the arrival of the family. Please keep all the family members and especially Pop Lewis in your prayers.

God bless you all and Thank You for your prayers! Jeff and Sheri Easter.

A lovely old lady who stayed in the background of her musically talented family. But she INSISTED that she always be included on the bus tours as long as she could. She also held court behind the family's record and souvenir table. I'll miss her. This is the way we will all remember Mom. Very personal and lovingly.

Another Loss

Just as well get all of this in together. The McLain Family also lost their father. This too came to me by way of Bill Knowlton:

Hi Bill, Daddy passed away this morning. Here is a web page with Raymond Kane McLain's story and pictures in case you'd like to share it with others:

Ruth McLain Smith

Ruth, Raymond, Michael and all of the family, our sympathies go out to you. I met Raymond S. several times but never had the opportunity to get really acquainted. I have known Raymond Jr. for many years. He, Ruth, Michael and the others I have met have always been some of the most gracious, friendly and sincere folks you could want to know. Raymond plays whatever instrument the current band needs. Ruth is one of the absolute top bass players around today and should be recognized as such when "awards" are voted for. She is the only one I ever saw stop John Hartford, when she was playing with him at Norris, Tenn. John stepped back, "I never saw her do that before. Do that again." I know this family will miss the great influence and leadership provided by their father as will much of the music scene. I would suggest a visit to the site listed above.

Good News

There has got to be some good news somewhere here. None that you don't already know, but Spring is coming and so is festival season. Bees are buzzing, guitars strumming, birds are singing, banjos ringing and the sun shines. We will all be outdoors with good friends, favorite bands and the best outdoor entertainment for the WHOLE family, a bluegrass festival. Just remember, if you're going to a bluegrass festival you won't mind telling your mama and your mother won't mind. It won't be very long now.

Until Then ...

Until that gets here, there's

· West Point, Music Ranch USA: March 1, Mike Goodman and Patricia Thorpe will be there. March 8, The Legacy, 3-member band from Bagdad, Ky. March 15, Adelle Little, Vicki Gatling. March 22, Tom McGannon and Linda Hunt. March 29, Rube's favorite - Narvel Felts.

· Shepherdsville Music Show: March 7, Clyde & Marie Denny & Moron Bros. March 14, Doyle Lawson. March 21, Sammy Adkins. March 28, Larry Cordle. THURSDAY, April 3, The Lewis Family & Jesse McReynolds & Luke McKnight.

· Bluegrass Anonymous and Bl;uegrass Brewing Company, Louisville, March 6, James King (FREE),

or, also every Wednesday night at BBCopen jam session.

That's all, folks

Folks, I think this is it for this time. Continue to listen to Sunday Bluegrass, WFPK 91.9 FM, 8-11 p.m., or Internet and follow instructions given. Thanks for all of the continued support. And let's see now, where did I put that new CD of ... ?