Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Fall, autumn, perhaps an Indian summer spell, fallen leaves all around and in the old days there was the scent of burning leaves in the air at times. There is a bit of nip in the air, a fellow called Jack Frost pays an occasional visit and you just can't ignore the changes. Something's going on in the air. Summer's going, winter's coming and this is the transitional period. Make the most of it. It is the holiday season beginning.

This month is the month of Thanksgiving, followed by December and the greatest holiday of all - CHRISTMAS. Then, in just a week, January will be here and that means the New Year, New Year's Day - a day of celebrations.

But I'm getting ahead. November, Thanksgiving, the time when many families come together for a day of feasting, renewing the bond and keeping tradition, counting our blessings and being thankful. The way it should be.

Tennessee Fall Homecoming

The Tennessee Fall Homecoming at the Museum of Appalachia was a great weekend, at least for me. As always, it felt like a reunion of friends and pickers. Dr. Bill Foster and his wife Ann are always a delight. Bill was going to do "I'm My Own Grandpa" and was hit with one of those bolts from who knows where and got the words tangled. In the process of starting over, it seems that some of the words were not to be found. With a very game try and a little help from a member of the audience, Bill managed to finish it. As they were leaving the stage at the end of their performance, I told Bill that I had one thing to say: "Broken banjo string - $25. Banjo tuner - $50. Dr. Bill Foster forgetting the words - priceless." Bill, Ann and all present got a good laugh out of that one. You can only do that sort of thing in a setting like that when you know the folks pretty well, friends.

Good News and Not-So-Good News

Events like the Homecoming and other festivals bring good news and sometimes not-so-good news. I learned that Mr. Will Keys, a longtime performer at the festival and a part of the Masters of The Banjo tour a few years, has a brain tumor. Condition, serious. The "Mule Lady," Marilynn Powell-Greene, hinted at the possibility that this could be her last year. Jan Dale, a lady I met at IBMA a few years ago, made it again this year. Jan is from Australia and has a show there similar to mine. Nice lady.

Little Indian Princess and Others

Considering young people in bluegrass and the good ole traditional music, The Little Indian Princess, Abigail Moore, continues to shine. I have had good calls and comments about this young lady from folks who have heard her on my show [Sunday Bluegrass]. Another good indicator is that the crowd around my stage increases when she is performing. There are several groups and acts that can swell the crowd when they are on. As these things go, there are a few that can do just the opposite.

Mac Wiseman, who has been a regular for years, was unable to be there this year, for health reasons. Although he was out of the hospital and at home, he couldn't make it.

Dr. Ralph was there and seems to be doing well. Ralph says he is not back 100% quite yet but is doing OK.

Back Home Again

Following the four days at the Museum, I went to Virginia. I hadn't been home for over four years, so I did a lot of catching up with many cousins I grew up with and got a lot better acquainted with my great-granddaughter, now four years old. For me, it was a great two weeks. Now folks, these are blessings to be thankful for.

Just a Reminder

The "This Week In Bluegrass" tapings hosted by Gary Brewer are going on at Music Ranch USA, West Point, Kentucky, every Thursday at 5 p.m. I had a note saying there will be a charge, which will include the concert that follows the taping. Come on out and be a part of a live TV audience.

What's Going On

_ SHEPHERDSVILLE (Ky.) MUSIC SHOW: November 4, David Parmley and Continental Divide. November 11, Carolina Road Band. November 18, Billie Renee and Cumberland Gap. November 25, Bluegrass 101. December 2, Honi Deaton and Dream. December 9, Tommy Brown & County Line Grass, plus Tweed Donahoe & Friends. December16, Steve Helton & Flint River Boys.

_ SOUTHERN OHIO MUSIC FESTIVAL, Roberts Convention Centre, Wilmington, Ohio: November 11-12, featuring Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Wildwood Valley Boys, Mountain Heart, The Grascals, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Cherryholmes Family, Paul Williams & Victory Trio, Gerald Evans & Paradise, Blue Moon Rising and the VW Boys.

_ MITCHELL (Ind.) OPERA HOUSE: November 5, The Special Consensus, 8 p.m.

_ RUDYARD KIPLING: November 19, Monroe Country - an evening of bluegrass music and bluegrass poetry, with special guests from the Monroe Bluegrass Foundation and Sarah Elizabeth Whitehead & Ron Whitehead, 7-9 p.m.

Check In ... Make a Note

Well folks, be sure to check in every Sunday night, 91.9 FM, 8- 11, WFPK. Make a note now for the all-Hank Williams Sr. New Year's Show, noon to 4. A tradition for several years and it's on public radio, where else?!