Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Summer is here, flowers are blooming, many changes around us and 76 years ago, many changes were made by my mother, starting on the 8th day of this month. I arrived. Actually I don't recall much about that day; I was pretty young then. Guess I never got over it. Some folks ask me if I am ever going to grow up. So that's what June means to me, or at least part of it.

Bluegrass Back to Belvedere

I guess by now most of you have heard that an attempt is being made to bring a bluegrass festival back to the Belvedere in Louisville. At least I hope that's what it's going to be - a Bluegrass Festival. Don't try to make it a catchall mix; it just don't work that way. I have heard that Sassafras is one of the first to be booked. Good for them. These youngsters deserve all of the encouragement they get.

Bluegrass Museum

A trip to Owensboro last month was a good one. Went down to the International Bluegrass Museum. As it is with most institutions of this kind, there is a certain amount of change going on all of the time. If you have never been or haven't been for a while, I would strongly urge all Bluegrass fans to plan a trip there this year.

Take along some friends who are not one of us. You may be surprised at their reaction and how many new members can be brought into the fold this way. Expose a lot of friends to the world of bluegrass music. Many of them have probably never had the opportunity for a first-hand experience to know what the music and the people who make it are really like. Remember what "O Brother" did for folks who thought they didn't like "our" music.

Oh, while you are there, consider a membership in the museum. This is a way to really help support bluegrass. Just liking it is not enough. Involvement is the way to become a real part of it.

McCoury's Gospel

A new CD from Del McCoury arrived last month. You will probably have heard some of it by now. It's an all-gospel disc - Del's first, as I understand it. I liked it and I hope Sunday Bluegrass, will be one of the places you have heard it.

Country Gentleman Has Company

On two Sundays this past month I was able to have bands in on Sunday Bluegrass. Stone Hollow was first and had a great response. So did Hog Operation, who were there in preparation for The Forest Fest at Jefferson Memorial Forest. Since it is scheduled for the day that this column is due, I can't tell you how it was; so I'll just say that I'm sure it went well.

In addition to the two bands already mentioned, there was Old Louisville Express and Sassafras. I truly hope this show can continue for a long time to come.

Dr. Banjo Calling

Pete Wernick, a.k.a. Dr. Banjo, called the studio one night. I was supposed to call him, but I didn't have his number. He had the studio number and gave me a call. I had a nice chat with him.

There was a purpose for the call and that was to give information on Pete's Jam Camp. It was/is May 31 and June 1-2. Pete wanted to emphasize that no matter how well you play or don't play, the camp is designed to help all who attend and to raise their confidence to a level of joining in a jam. All bluegrass instruments are welcome.

Even though I don't play an instrument other than the dreaded CD player, I have always thought the best way to really learn to play was to play with others. Does take a lot of patience.

Bluegrass 101 Festival at Bardstown will be held on June 2-3. Friday: Bluegrass 101, Sassafras, New River Line, Cherryholmes and Kentucky Blue. Saturday will feature Bluegrass 101, Tommy Brown and County Line Grass, Paul Williams and the Victory Trio, Kentucky Wind and Phillip Akemon and Flatlick.

The Festival Of The Bluegrass, June 8-11, Georgetown, Kentucky: IIIRD Tyme Out, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Seldom Scene, Dry Branch Fire Squad, J. D. Crowe, Mountain Heart, Wildfire, Stringdusters, Blue Highway, Lewis Family, Kentucky Blue, Stringtown, Billie Renee and Cumberland Gap and the Moron Brothers.

Bluegrass In The Hills, Hopedale, Ohio: June 8-10. June 8: Almost Famous, Twin Hills, Wheeling Park, Buck and the Boys. June 9: Ralph Stanley II and The Clinch Mountain Boys, Hickory Project, Allegheny Drifters, Wheeling Park, Buck and the Boys. June 10: Dean Osborne, Wildwood Valley Boys, Northwest Territory, David Peterson and 1946, The Coleman Family, Carroll County Grass.

It's time to R.O.M.P. again. Yes, it's time for the River Of Music Party: June 22-25, Owensboro, Kentucky, sponsored by International Bluegrass Museum. The full list of performers is a bit too lengthy to list here, so I'll just mention a few: The Legends Concert on Thursday night features The Dillards, Bill Clifton, Eddie and Martha Adcock, Bobby Osborne and closes with an all-star jam. Other acts through the rest of the week include Steve Helton and Flint River Boys, James King, Kruger Bros., Doc Watson and Cherryholmes.

Other special events: Charlotte, Mich. Bluegrass Festival, June 22-23: Rhonda Vincent, Kenny and Amanda Smith Band, IIIRD Tyme Out, The Lewis Family, Lost and Found, Flint River Boys, Wildwood Valley Boys and Tommy Brown, plus many others.

Too Late To Get A Doughnut

It is now 1 A.M. on the 20th of May. That means I'd better get this in cyberspace and myself in bed. Got a festival to do tomorrow and a show tomorrow night. Also got to pick out a few starter tunes for Sunday night. It's Sunday Bluegrass, 8-11, so I want you to turn it on: WFPK, 91.9 FM and streaming audio on the Internet.