Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Christmas Time's A-Coming, Christmas Times A-Coming ... and you know the rest. The Holiday Season seems to be a time of contradiction. In ways, things slow down and speed up all at the same time. A time of excitement and anticipation for all kids - no matter what age the "kid" is. Just as it speeds up and slows down at the same time, it can be happy and, at the same time, not so happy. I guess maybe it's kind of up to us which way it is. As Fall transitions into Winter, the week between Christmas and New Year's transitions from an ending to a beginning and filled with great expectations and hope. Also filled with mystery - what does the new year hold? I hope it brings you happiness, blessings and dreams fulfilled.

Hear Yee, Hear Yee

Uh, make that Hearsay, Hearsay!

Right up front, this is the hearsay paragraph. I did not make it to IBMA's big shindig this year. I will mention, in generalities, comments I have heard regarding "the change of venue." A two-sided coin. To sum up an echoed comment: much more expensive, much more spread out and wish it was back in Louisville. That didn't surprise me as much as someone saying a claim was made that bluegrass started in Nashville. One comment went to the effect that someone announced that when Earl Scruggs came on stage with Bill Monroe at the Opry, that was the initial moment that bluegrass music started. Go back to the beginning. I said, this is hearsay.

On a good note - and apologies to the complete list of winner's because I have not at this time seen a complete list - congratulations big time to Cherryholmes for their much deserved award.

Bring it On

By the time this is read it will be time to bring out the Christmas music for Sunday Bluegrass [The Country Gentleman's program on WFPK] and there is a pretty good selection most fitting for the season. Since this is a once-a-year opportunity, I usually start off with a pretty fair mixing in of Christmas right after Thanksgiving, increasing the mix until the finishing Sunday with all-Christmas. The mix will include traditional country with the bluegrass. Our longtime listeners know what to expect. Just for the uninitiated, some of my favorite and featured artists will include Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley, Patty Loveless, Marty Robbins, Ernest Tubb and so many more. I always look forward to this and I hope you will too.

Tribute to Hank

Following the Christmas programming comes New Year's Day and the annual Hank Williams SR! tribute. There are legends, there are "great ones" and there is Hank Williams. In spite of his known faults, Hank Williams had the gift to express in his writings, with very simple language every ear could understand, love and life the way it happened to all of us. He could project the story, the message, the emotion into every hearer's heart and soul. From "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" to "I Saw The Light," and all stops in between, everyone could - and did - relate. That's why now, fifty-two years after he was discovered dead in the back seat of his car en route to Canton, Ohio, Hank Williams' name, music and songs are readily recognized by every generation. Often copied but never duplicated, Truly one of a kind.

Yellow, Not Red

This is a part of the slow-down part of the holidays. Slowed down, but not a complete stop. And here's why:

Shepherdsville [Ky.] Music Show: December 2, Honi (Honey) Deaton & Dream. December 9, Tommy Brown & County Line Grass, Tweed Donahoe and Friends. December 14, Steve Helton & Flint River Boys. JANUARY 6, RALPH STANLEY & Clinch Mountain Boys and Tommy Brown.

Music Ranch Usa, West Point, Ky.: December 3, Upshaw Briggs & Max Groove. December 9, Gospel Christmas Show, Frankie Nunn & Crossroads. December 10, Country, Buck & Leah w/guest Stephanie Lambring plus Kyle Chandler and his sister Sydney. December 11, 2-5:30 p.m., Legends Then and Now, Impersonations Show. December 17, Country Christmas, Kentucky Hurricane with Fred Scoggin, Glorybound Quartet. December 31 Glorybound Quartet.

Worthwhile Thoughts

Some thoughts from an e-mail I received recently, thoughts worth thinking, remembering and practicing;

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will.

You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken.

You'll fight with your best friend. You'll blame a new love for things an old one did.

You'll cry because time is passing too fast and you'll eventually lose someone you love.

So take too many pictures, laugh too much and love like you've never been hurt, because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back.

As 2005 draws to a close, recap the year past, cherish the good times, accept the rough times as a necessary part of living and learning. Cherish good friends, as in reality they are few in a lifetime and especially cherish family - we only have one.

Thanks to all of you who are and have been, faithful listeners to Sunday Bluegrass, WFPK - 91.9 FM, for these 16 ½ years now. Each Sunday night, 8-11. Keep your Christmas safe, blessed and as it is meant to be. I'll say it:

Merry Christmas !!