Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

So, April showers bring May flowers and a few of its own. Gosh, I think all of the sights of Spring in April were something unlike any I can remember. It just seemed as if all of the redbuds, forsythia, buttercups, dogwoods and whatever else was making an appearance were trying to SHOUT to the world, "Look at us." Seems like all of these were thicker, fuller, richer and brighter in color than I have seen in, heck, I don't know when, if ever. You know, the winter was pretty doggone cold, etc. and all the events that have been taking place, maybe it is a sign of what's to come. If it isn't, it would be a pretty encouraging one so why not just take it that way.

Lewis Family, Jesse McReynolds at Shepherdsville

April brought The Lewis Family and Jesse McReynolds and the Virginia Boys to Shepherdsville Music Show the same night. An annual performance there. Old habits are hard to break and you have to be careful not to introduce "Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys." Of course, Jim is missed and it is not the same, BUT it is still good. Jim McReynolds was the definition of a gentleman. Luke McKnight is doing a great job, a commendable job. A side note: Congratulations to Luke on his graduation from firefighters school. He is not giving up music, just wants to be a firefighter also. Many folks have wondered if Jesse would continue. The answer is yes. The problem is, the promoters don't know. Jesse and Luke both mentioned that they need to get the word around that they are still here and accepting dates.

The Lewis Family was going strong as always. Missing from their table was Mom. A dear sweet lady. Pop Lewis is approaching 98. Hang in there Pop. Janice is doing well from her bout with treatments for cancer.

Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain

Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain also made an annual appearance at Shepherdsville last month. Great show. Melvin announced that his brother Ray has cancer again. If I recall correctly, he said this is a third kind Ray has had and will be going through chemo treatments again. He then mentioned that his (Melvin's) wife has been diagnosed with cancer. Keep all of these folks in your prayers and thoughts.

Bluegrass 101

It was a good month for Bluegrass 101. Seems they were in a contest sponsored by the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro the 9th of April. A Battle of the Bands. Bluegrass 101 emerged unscathed in first place. These folks are making their mark in Bluegrass and I believe will continue to do so. An unusual group in some ways. Leader Terry Waldridge didn't sing, play or write songs until he was 35. Somewhat of a late bloomer, I suppose you would say. There's dedication and a work ethic that reflects a carryover of his "day job." Being a dairy farmer, his "day job" is an every-day, all-day, job. It doesn't start and stop with hooking up the milking machines and neither does his bluegrass start and stop with tuning the guitar. With four CDs, a building fan base, a fine band in 101 and very importantly, unfaltering support from wife Pam, this group is on the path to success. The current makeup of Bluegrass 101 has been together now a year and a half. Hold what you've got and keep on picking.

Smells Like Bluegrass

Festival is in the air. A gaze into the flier folder, the schedule of festivals looks something like this:

May 9-11, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver's Bluegrass Music Festival, Denton Farm Park, Denton, N.C.: Doyle, of course, all three days. Mac Wiseman, IIIRD Tyme Out, Rhonda Vincent and more.

May 16-17, Dale Ann Bradley & Coon Creek Festival at Berea, Ky.: Dale Ann Bradley, Larry Sparks and more.

May 22-24, Dr. Ralph Stanley's 33rd Annual Memorial Bluegrass Festival, Smith Ridge, between Coeburn and McClure, Va.: Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, Larry Sparks, The Lewis Family, Charlie Waller, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Melvin Goins and many more.

May 22-25, Bill Monroe Memorial Day Festival, Rosine, Ky.: James Monroe, Roni Stoneman, Jimmy Martin, J.D. Crowe, Larry Sparks, Eddie & Martha Adcock, plus. Travel some and enjoy a lot.

Blow Out All the Candles!

A big Happy Birthday to our friend Wade Mainer whose birthday was the 21st of April. Ninety-six and still going strong.

Well, I guess this will do it for this time. Keep listening to Sunday Bluegrass, WFPK 91.9 FM Louisville, Ky. Tell your friends to join us by way of the Internet. Go to WFPK.org and click on Listen Now for those out of range of our signal.