Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Okay, boys and girls, bundle up now. Haven't seen him yet but I'm pretty sure naughty Jack Frost will be nipping at your nose before you realize he's not just around the corner any longer. Oh yeah, the breeze - just to put it gently - is blowing around a few of those leaves we all missed at the last - and final - raking for this season. Ah, this season, very enjoyably ushered in at family gatherings all across this land of ours.

Yes, Thanksgiving, a fantastic introduction to the greatest holiday of them all for those of us who celebrate Christmas. A wonderful holiday that embraces all ages. There's nothing like watching the wonder of the season as it grows in a child's face and bursts forth in full joy at the sight of the lights, the trees, the presents, all fulfilling the excitement and expectations of the visit from Santa Claus. December, you have arrived in full glory with all of your accessories, ornaments, trappings and weather we have come to expect from you. Welcome!

'Tis the Season

Now is the time to lay aside pettiness, bickering and their companions to experience the satisfaction that comes with unhesitatingly giving. There are many ways this can be accomplished and a couple of outstanding examples bring to mind the red buckets with the seemingly untiring bell ringers. Those bells and the nickels, dimes and folding currency in the buckets are really not missed by the donors and mean everything to the receivers - an important difference in their lives, at least for the one special in this special season.

Bluegrass Benefit for Homeless

A couple of friends/acquaintances of mine - many of you know them for their performances and recordings - are one of many shining examples. For the Seventh Annual Christmas Bluegrass Benefit Concert for the Homeless, Eddie and Martha Adcock have set aside all of their concerns, except that one for the homeless, to stage a concert at the Station Inn, 402 Twelfth Ave., Nashville, Tennessee, to join with Gene Johnson (Diamond Rio), Thom Bresh (Merle Travis' son), Sam Bush, Kenny Baker, The Larry Stephenson Band, Alison Brown, Leroy Troy, Tim Graves & Cherokee, Jimmy Bowen & Santa Fe, Randy Waller, Roland White & Co., The Jackson Gang, The Moron Bros., Dr. Terry Commer & Friends, Eddie & Martha, plus special surprise guests.

Suggested donation at the door is $15. All proceeds and gifts (toiletries - personal items and the like) will be distributed through Room In The Inn, a local shelter system. All of these folks mentioned are donating - that's just another way of saying giving their talents and time. Special blessings and a warm glow to you, Martha and Eddie Adcock. These things are and will be duly noted.

Good 'un at Shepherdsville

Friday, the 17th of November, at Shepherdsville, featured Billie Renee and Cumberland Gap. They have a new CD out that is a "good 'un." I had heard them a couple of times before but this time I had a chance to sit and really listen. Somehow it seemed to me this show was the best I had heard from them. (Keep up the good work.) They did, by request, "Slowly I'm Falling," an old country tune they adapted well to their style of bluegrass. One thing I noticed, Webb Pierce didn't do it quite as swiftly.

December Bluegrass

The December acts that will be finishing out the year at Shepherdsville are: December 1, Cherryholmes and I hope you didn't miss this one. December 8, Tommy Brown & County Line Grass. December 15, The Grascals - a hot group with one longtime friend, Terry Eldridge. December 22, Mike Jones & Young At Heart. December 29, Monroe County Bluegrass Music, Todd & Kevin Autry with musicians from the Monroe Foundation to close out 2006.

January 5, The traditional start for the New Year, Dr. Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, plus Tommy Brown & County Line Grass.

Shopping Suggestion

It's not too late to throw in a reminder here for your Christmas shopping ease and possibly last- minute gift. One that will be a yearlong reminder and serve double duty by supporting the world of bluegrass. Give a membership to the International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky. Go and see for yourself if you haven't been. And if you have, go again and take a friend. The museum is growing all of the time and does have a lot to offer.

Available videos that can be viewed have been produced as a way to preserve by means of oral/visual history of the pioneers. Their stories give great insight and provide some good chuckles over the years. This is an ongoing project.

Wrap it Up

I guess this is a wrap, not exactly gift-wrap, but a finish for this time. It is deadline day and I have yet to pass this on to be edited, so I had better get friendly with the "send" button. My sincere wishes to one and all for a wonderful Christmas with all the meaning associated with the holiday of holidays. Keep it close. Keep it safe and sane.

Stay Tuned

Don't forget to crank up the old or new receiver for Sunday Bluegrass each Sunday, WFPK 91.9 FM, also streaming audio from WFPK.org. Keep in touch and anticipate all of the good things to come in the new year.