Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

September, what are you bringing us? Schools back in full swing, a promise of autumn, and you know ... actually you're the beginning of the end. Summer is leaving us in a hint of relief from this year's heat waves. Several times these past few weeks, it seemed as if baked potatoes could be served right from the vine - just scratch a bit of the dirt away, rinse what was left and served. OK, maybe not, but it has been a hot one.

Dr. Stanley's New Album

As most of you know, I don't usually do reviews as such. Sometimes new albums come along that I just want to tell more about and share my opinion of. Actually, that's what a "review" is, isn't it? - the "reviewer's" opinion, with which us ordinary folks can either heartily agree, somewhat agree, or "you're full of baloney." The choice is yours.

I told you that to tell you this, as Ron Thomason would say. I obtained Ralph Stanley's new CD, A Distant Land To Roam, the one that I had the radio special on a few weeks back. As you probably know, it consists of all Carter Family songs - the original Carter Family. From track 1, "God Gave Noah The Rainbow Sign," to track 13, the title song "A Distant Land To Roam," AP, Sarah and Maybelle would be proud of you, Dr. Stanley. I'll just bet they are up there smiling down on you right now. Everyone on this CD did an outstanding job. James Alan Shelton was at his best. If this CD does not receive the recognition and awards it should, the award shows should be shut down. As I said at the beginning of this, that's my opinion and you're welcome to it.

Another Good'un

Larry Stephenson also has an excellent new CD. Larry is pretty dependable when it comes to turning out fine CDs with good material and performance. I don't have the CD with me at the moment, but there is a particular song on it that really caught my attention. It is what I refer to as a sequel song. Not an answer song, but a sequel to an earlier song. In this case, a much earlier song. Listen to the words, remember "The Knoxville Girl" by the Louvin Bros. and many others, an old song with roots in old English ballads, then pay attention to the lyrics of "The Knoxville Boy." There is a warning to the young ladies to avoid the Knoxville Boy; he has murder in his eyes. There is one other song I consider to be a sequel song. It has been out quite a while, years now. Seldom Scene had a track, "I've Come To Take You Home," sequel to "Taking Mary Home."

Doe Run Bluegrass

Gary Brewer had his festival at Doe Run Inn on August 12, featuring Fresh Cut Grass, Gary & The Ramblers and Dean Sapp & Harford Express. I have this awful feeling right now I am leaving somebody out and if so I apologize. There was a definite increase in the crowd - I would say double. It will continue to grow, I'm sure. Doe Run Inn is an excellent venue for this.

Folks have been asking

And here are the answers: What's the question you say? What is the word on the Strictly Bluegrass Festival this year? Is it, where is it, when is it, etc. Ain't this wonderful, you don't even have to take notes, just clip this page. Here is the info just as I received it from Gary:

Hey Berk, here are a few details for the show:

(The fastest Grass Alive) Gary Brewer's Strictly Bluegrass Festival has moved to Ohio Valley Dragway. Southwest Jefferson County right on 31-W near West Point, KY.

Music Festival is still free. Races are an additional fee.

Date: September 9th, Saturday

Time: noon till midnight

Bring your lawn chairs.

Featuring: West Point's own International Bluegrass Star:

Gary Brewer and His Kentucky Ramblers, with very special guest groups

Dean Osborne Band

Dean Sapp and Harford Express

Robert White

Fritts Family

Tommy Brown and County Line

Higher Vision

Lilly Mae and the Dixie Gospelaires

Wendy Smith and Blue Velvet

Brewer Boyz (Wayne & Mason)

and Lots of surprises

*A Raffle of a Licensed U of L and U of K Special Edition electric guitars to be given away during the festival.

Come and Support the only free bluegrass family festival left in Louisville! Volunteers, show times and info @ www.brewgrass.com Tel @502-922-0493; directions @ www.ohiovalleydragway 

Hidden Hills Grass

If things come off as planned, as of this writing I will be meeting a gentleman I have hoped to meet for quite a while. When you read this, it will already have happened, and you may have heard some of the information here.

Bob Hill, C-J, WFPL, has confirmed some suspicions about himself that I have had for a long time: Bob is an avid BLUEGRASS fan. (Bob, I knew you had more than a few redeeming values.)

Bob wants you to know that Sept. 9-10 at his Hidden Hills Nursery & Sculpture Garden near Utica, Ind., they are featuring buffalo burgers, barbeque, bourbon-related art (?) and BLUEGRASS JAMMIN'. Time is 9-6 Saturday, and noon to 5 Sunday. Bob, in an apologetic note, realizes this is the same weekend as the Strictly Bluegrass fest and WILL avoid that in the future. It was the only weekend he had available this time. He wants to get the word out to jammers and bands.

Mo sho info!

West Point Music Ranch USA: Sept. 9, Gospel, The Bakers. Sept. 30, 5th Sat. show, Special show.

11th ANNUAL STRINGBEAN Memorial Bluegrass Festival, Gray Hawk, Ky., Jackson County, Sept. 7-9: Thursday, Frank Pennington & Friends. Friday, Phillip Akemon & Flatlick, Ernie Thacker, Virginia Cross Ties, and Millers Creeke. Saturday, Kentucky Reign, The Mule Band, Lonesome Whistle Band and more.

Vine Grove, Ky., Sept. 22-23: Friday, 5 p.m., Kentucky Sassafras, Moron Bros., Pine Mountain Railroad and bands TBA. Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, David Peterson & 1946, Tommy Brown & County Line Grass, Billie Renee & Cumberland Gap, Kentucky Wind, Kentucky Sassafras & Rhythm-N-Motion Cloggers.

I think that will just about do it. Now if I can just get through the Fair and all - well, just tune in WFPK 91.9 FM each Sunday night from 8 to11 and then you'll know. As many of you already know, you never know who or what's gonna happen. Our fund drive is gonna happen one Sunday this month. Don't miss out now.