Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

May, we are so glad you are here. That April was a trickster, with its beautiful warm days and then suddenly, without warning, the biggest snow of the last season in some nearby areas. Whoo, ice on the dogwoods, icy slush on the roads, ground covered with snow and just as quickly as it came it went away. A last winter entrée, it blew itself in, thumbed its Jack Frost nose at us and left. GOODBYE!! And good riddance for now.

Momentarily not overlooked

We often speak of traditional country and its artists. Mostly talk about how they can't be found on the airways without a search warrant anymore. You can imagine my surprise last month _ Wednesday, the 14th, to be exact _ when checking my e-mail, my wife watching NBC Today Show, a song in the background caught my attention and I stopped what I was doing to see what was going on. They were doing a segment at an orchid show that I suppose was there in New York. Very clearly in the background, there it was: Carl Smith's recording of "I Overlooked An Orchid," most appropriate for the show.

Carl was always one of my favorites of the country artists. That was so refreshing to hear. I, of course, don't know who may have been responsible for that, but a tip of the Stetson to whoever it was.

Show Must Go On

The Lewis Family and New Found Road were at Shepherdsville Music Show last month. Little Roy was as full of himself as always and the show rolled on. Pop not being there, to me, made it seem there was an emptiness, kind of like the vine had been pruned. He will be missed. Miggie was back with them. She has not been out for several years. She has not resumed her role on stage as yet, she said she had forgotten some of the songs and would need a little time to refresh and get back on track. Enjoyed a good visit with all of them. Little Roy's frequent foil, brother Wallace before he became ill, is not doing well. Janice is doing fine. That's show biz, folks and the Lewis Family lives up to the old adage, "The show must go on," and with them it does.

New Found Road, although essentially unknown to most folks, proved they could very well be a new band to watch. These young fellows jumped right in, grabbed the attention of this Thursday night crowd and didn't let go until they were through. It's a sure bet they will be back.

The Lewis Family has a new video. It is very well done. Dedicated to mom, Pauline Lewis and produced last year: "The Lewis Family Presents Home Sweet Home With Family And Friends." This was apparently filmed at Elijah State Park where the Lewis Family Festival is held each year. Fourteen songs that give everyone a chance to shine. I am only guessing at this _ I think it is a pretty safe guess _ but it contains what may possibly be Pop's last appearance. The last song, "Never Grow Old," features Pop. The whole family is there for the final number, plus fiddle player Buddy Spicher, who played with them on all of the numbers. It is a good video to add to your or anyone's Lewis Family collection. They will also soon have a new CD release.

Catch them at a show date somewhere or check their web site, www:thelewisfamilymusic.net

Really Big Weekend

Well that big weekend is probably over, or should be, by the time you see this and I suppose there are those among you who have counted your winnings or losses! Either way, I hope you did have a good time and survived in good form.

Two bill on a Derby Pony / Ten dollar bet to win / Lost all my money on the Derby Pony / I said I'd never do it again. (Just a little excerpt from some thoughts of mine a few years ago.)

Distant Bluegrass

For those who travel, a few festival notes in the near weeks:

Fourche Creek Bluegrass Festival, May 5-8 at Doniphan, Mo.:The Lewis Family, Blue Persuasion, Southern Missouri Bluegrass and many more.

Festival of Friendship, ay 6-8, Old Mill Campground, Friendship, Ind.: Rhonda Vincent, Big Country Bluegrass, David Davis & Warrior River Boys, Wildwood Valley Boys, Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time, Lost & Found and many more.

Kentucky Region Roundup

Bardstown (Ky.) Bluegrass Festival, White Acres Camp Ground, May 21-22: Gary Brewer & Kentucky Ramblers, Dean Osborne Band, Hog Operation, The Moron Bros., Tommy Brown & County Line Grass and Revival Ridge.

May 27-29, Dr. Ralph Stanley's 34th Annual Memorial Bluegrass Festival at the Hills Of Home Park, Smith Ridge, between Coeburn & McClure, Va.: Ralph & The Clinch Mountain Boys every day, Lewis Family, Gillian Welch, Jim Lauderdale, Charlie Waller & Country Gentlemen, Larry Sparks, Melvin Goins, Cheryholmes Family and more. Tell them all I sent you.

OK folks, start packing, bite the bullet and fill er up with that liquid gold they call GAS, chose your destination and go to a festival. While you're out there, do what many others do and connect the dots, one festival to the next. If you would be so kind, all of the folks you see everywhere, make sure they know how to get Sunday Bluegrass on their computer. Go to WFPK.org, click on listen live and follow instructions. You know the time, Sunday nights 8-11 (EDT) Spring is here; get out there and enjoy it. Whatever you do, be careful, have a safe and trouble-free trip and we'll see you back here next time.