Berk Bryant
Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

OK friends, by the time you read this, it's probably all over but the shouting and that's about over too. First order of business is to hope all made it safe and sound. Now is the time to reflect on what 2004 may hold. We've gotten this far and in a sense are over the hump. Don't know about you, but I usually feel like it's a real uphill trudge, weather-wise that is, till we hit the New Year and then the promise of Spring is just what we've heard about all these years + a tonic. Yeah, the good ole spring tonic and spring is the tonic.

Eddie and Martha's Benefit

One thing that needs saying in this column is a big congratulations to Eddie and Martha Adcock. They pulled off another very successful benefit for the homeless of Nashville. It is in the spirit of the season, the spirit of giving. Many gave in donations and many gave in time and talent. A thanks to all. An aside to Eddie and Martha for including WFPK in their newsletter: Keep up the good work and a big tip of the bluegrass bonnet to you.

Doyle a Favorite

Doyle Lawson came to Shepherdsville and produced his usual good crowd. Doyle is one of the favorites at Sheps. Doyle makes a return appearance March 26. More good folks coming between now and then. Look for schedule a little further in the column.

Thanks, Y'all

A big thanks to all of the Sunday Bluegrass listeners for sharing another year of bluegrass Sundays with me. Looking forward to the coming year and great new releases that will be coming our way. Thanks also go out to the artists and record labels who provide and keep us up with their new releases. As I have said before, the instruments do not make the music. In the hands of the right people, right background and right attitude, great bluegrass + true bluegrass + is produced and not hard to recognize.

Sinatra and Bluegrass?

We all know by now that IBMA is leaving Louisville after this year. We can only imagine what the results of that will be. To me, there seems to be an influence working its way into the bluegrass scene that is bent on taking the music somewhere it doesn't belong. Under the guise of "progressive" or "the excuse," make that "justification," that the music must change. Why must it change? We are hearing too much being called bluegrass by "artists" who are no more bluegrass than Sinatra was an opera singer. Is the move to Nashville going to help this and, if so, which way is it going to go + further away or back to basics and roots?

Alive and Well

The bluegrass spirit is alive and well with many listeners as evidenced by a letter I received today (December 17, 20 03). My letter is a copy of one sent to WFPK with the following:

"We are pleased to make a contribution of $250 to WFPK in support of your fine program Sunday Bluegrass with Berk Bryant.

"We listen to Berk's show at the start and at the end of our week in Louisville from our room at the Galt House during our annual visit to the International Bluegrass Music Association World of Bluegrass.

"Thanks to Berk and to WFPK for the program."

How do you thank someone like that? These folks can only get our show two nights a year. These great folks are supporting Bluegrass Music in Louisville. They live in another state and do not have a computer to listen to the stream. It is a mighty humble thanks I extend to them.

New Year Bluegrass

Let's see how the first of the year shapes up at Shepherdsville:

January 2, Kentucky Blue. January 9, Dr. RALPH STANLEY, The Clinch Mountain Boys & Tommy Brown. January 16, Open Highway. January 23, Philip Akemon & Flatlick and Stringbean Youth Band. January 30, Williams & Clark Expedition. February 6, Larry Sparks & Lonesome Ramblers.

Happy Bluegrass Year!