Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Now it's really here - FALL, Autumn, end of summer, weather changes, temperature changes, color changes in the woods, and falling leaves. And, I guess some of us make some changes this time of year also. The very beginnings of the approach of the holidays mode, some anticipation of a period of mixed emotions and settling in for awhile. As I have said about festivals, very much looking forward to it, glad when it gets here, glad when it's over and right away begin looking forward to the next one. May be a pretty good time to look back a bit.

Strictly Bluegrass

Gary Brewer's Strictly Bluegrass Festival returned to Iroquois Park this year and will be there for a while to come. All-around good time and show. As it happens many times, I was introduced to a band I had seen listed on festivals and had not had the opportunity to see them. Stringtown. These folks turned out to be an interesting group. Talk about a potpourri of pickers; this a mix of strange bedfellows.

I hope I get this somewhere close to right. I'm not going to try to do names. Those of you who know me know very well that remembering names is an ice-covered slippery slope for me from the start. So, we'll do it this way. The guitar man is a judge, the bass player is a minister, the mandolin lady works for Veterans Administration and the banjo man, well I heard some mention of being in the whiskey trade. Put it all together and you've got a good group of bluegrass pickers.

Gary, another good show. Keep them coming.

PRP Fall Fund Drive

Public Radio Partnership (PRP) had its Fall Fund Drive this last month. At the time of this writing it is still going on and it appears that you folks and friends have come through with another successful drive. It keeps us on the air and enables PRP to continue to provide programming of a nature that is sometimes difficult if not impossible to find elsewhere. Presented in a manner that many feel makes it a personal bond with the listener. That is good.

My personal thanks to the many great responses to my small part with Sunday Bluegrass. I had a very good and special feeling regarding a couple of the pledges read during my show. We had two separate pledges from two young ladies. If I recall correctly, I believe one was 15 and the other was 16. It is a real compliment to me when young people of their age group let us know they like our music, listen to it and are not hesitant to say so. Good for them and a special thanks to all of you. You are very encouraging to me.


The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) World of Bluegrass Trade Show and Fan Fest will get October going early on. Held pretty successfully at The Galt House in Louisville.

I have noticed on the news reports, there has been mention of the Gospel Quartet Convention leaving Louisville, the FFA convention leaving Louisville, and others. But the blatant indifference to bluegrass music in the area shines brightly as evidenced by not a single mention that I heard regarding the pull-out by IBMA. Additionally, I have heard nothing suggesting a serious effort was made to keep it here. Why is this in all honesty and not some party line justification. The trend in bluegrass music is developing, gradually and surely. It will accelerate in Nashville.

How long will it take before it joins the ranks of "crock" music? I will miss the friends I have made at IBMA, and there are many.


For the first time, The Museum of Appalachia Tennessee Fall Homecoming takes place in the same week as IBMA. As a result I will be able to attend IBMA only a couple of days. I have been involved in the "Homecoming" much longer, and hope to keep it that way. It is a totally different event from any other I attend. True arts and crafts, many good true traditional bands, acts and performers we might not see elsewhere. It is NOT a bluegrass festival as we normally think of one. Rather, it features and emphasizes Appalachian music, crafts and culture. Exhibitions, demonstrations, and much learning from those who know. A picture Is worth a thousand words; a visit to this event is worth a thousand pictures. Nothing beats a hands-on personal experience. It runs from October 7 through 10.

To name just a few headliners that will be there: Ralph Stanley, Mac Wiseman, Doyle Lawson, Leroy Troy, Raymond Fairchild and Rhonda Vincent.

John Hartford Tribute Cruise

October 8, there will be one more John Hartford Tribute Cruise, possibly the last, on the Belle of Louisville. This cruise will feature three acts, Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum, Tony Ellis and Bob Carlin & the John Hartford Repertory Band. Jamie Hartford, John's son, is expected to attend. This will be a two-and-a-half hour cruise boarding about 10 a.m. (Check with the Belle of Louisville for exact boarding and cruise times.) All proceeds from the cruise will be divided between the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center in Nashville and the cancer center in Louisville. You will not want to miss this one. Unfortunately, I will, so you can go and represent me.

What is going on elsewhere?

SHEPHERDSVILLE will kick in for the season on Oct. 15 with Tommy Brown & County Line Grass. Oct. 22, Vince Combs. Oct. 29, Sammy Adkins & Sandy Hook Mountain Boys. Nov. 5, David Parmley & Continental Divide, plus a Reunion of the Bluegrass Cardinals.

MITCHELL, IND., Opera House: Oct. 11 (8:00 p.m.), The Barter Theater Touring Company presents Keep On The Sunny Side. The Songs and Story of the Carter Family.

HARDGATE, TENN.: Oct. 16, The 3rd Annual Dr. Ralph Stanley Scholarship Concert, featuring Earl Scruggs with family & friends, Dr. Ralph Stanley & Clinch Mountain Boys, III Tyme Out, S&S Express, and Mountain Heir. Close by or a little traveling, there are some good offerings here.

Well friends, folks and readers, Fall is here, can Winter (brrrrrr) be far behind? I guess this is enough for this time, and, again, on behalf of PRP and myself, our many sincere thanks to all of you for your support. Stay with us by tuning in to your favorites and Sunday Bluegrass, 8-11 p.m. every Sunday night for the shortest, fastest, and bestest three hours in radio. 91.9 FM and streaming audio from