Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Midsummer and a little past midyear - WOW. I just realized there are only five more shopping days till Christmas. Wait a minute, what did I say? Explain yourself, old man. OK, OK. Before you get too excited, think of it this way: When payday comes only once a month, that's a shopping day and there are only five more paydays before Christmas. You who get paid twice a month, you get ten more. And if you get paid weekly as I once did - very weakly - then I guess you have got about nineteen more. So make the most of it. What a heck of a way to start a column on a HOT summer night. So be it.


Last month, actually the night I am "writing" this, Kentucky Sassafras played at the Elizabeth Towne Mall. Well it was Hafafrass; part of the whole group couldn't make it but there were some friends who rounded out the group. There was fiddling - at one point three fiddles, no waiting - mandolin picking and, of course, the trusty guitars. This show was for a children's event and took place at center stage. Those toddlers were having a great time. A sight to see. They had a good introduction to bluegrass and clogging.

Remembering John

Just been checking in on a project some very good friends of mine are undertaking. Some of you may have read about this before in the column. I have two very good friends who have been devotedly dedicated to a documentary on one of the greatest, most talented performers of the Twentieth Century. John Hartford was one of the relatively few who could walk on stage alone or with a band and entertain an audience. A very prolific writer, John had two great loves: music and rivers/steamboats.

In June 1999, I was honored and privileged that John Hartford had accepted an invitation to be on my "Sunday Bluegrass" show. He had played Churchill Downs Saturday and Sunday and agreed to stay over Sunday for my show. John had son Jamie, Bob Carlin, Chris Sharp and Larry Perkins with him.

The year after John left us, Bob came to me at IBMA - still in Louisville at that time - and humbled me. Bob told me, "John really liked you. He really wanted to do your show. He did not like to do live radio but he really wanted to do your show."

I initially got acquainted with John at the Tennessee Fall Homecoming at the Museum of Appalachia. Over the years that acquaintance grew into a trusted friendship. I told that to tell you this: This documentary/tribute has been in the making for a couple of years. I am very appreciative to these two ladies who are putting this documentary together. I know personally they have devoted many hours of research, travel and recollections of their own to make this a five-star, first-class tribute. When it is finished it will be right. I would urge you to take a moment and visit the web site: While you are there, sign the guest book, please.

Plan Ahead

An August reminder to all friends and fans. On the 22nd, stop by the Ft. Knox/Radcliff Tourism booth at the State Fair. I'll be there all day, 9-5 and would like to say 'hi.'

On the 29th, it's Wednesday on the Waterfront, courtesy of WFPK and that Wednesday it's bluegrass. Yes it's bluegrass with Adrian Young & Little Sadie, Kentucky Sassafras AND Cherryholmes. What more could you want? Free! FREE it is and it starts at 6 p.m. I'll be there and hope you will, too.

Another reminder

Thisconcerns the jamming at Vine Grove every Monday night. Interest and attendance has picked up. There is a lot of shade. This takes place at the Optimist Club Park, starting at 6 p.m. and goes to about 10 p.m. Bring yourself, a couple of friends, a cooler and oh, don't forget a chair. By all means if you have an instrument bring it. Everybody is welcome and helpful if you are early in your career as a picker. Can't pick? I know you can grin and visit.

And More Bluegrass

Bluegrass Cruises on the Belle of Louisville, boarding at 1 p.m., cruise at 2 p.m. and return at 4 p.m. each Sunday: August 5, Fresh Cut Grass. August 12, Pickin' Time. August 19, Goober says Hey. August 26, Fresh Cut Grass.

Rineyville Community Park, Rineyville, Ky., August 18. 1st Annual Bluegrass Festival, featuring The Moron Bros., Bluegrass 101, Blue River, Riverbottom, 11 a.m. until ?. Beginning with open stage and an appearance by Fields of Grass.

Milan Bluegrass Festival, Milan, Mich., August 9-11, with JD Crowe, The Lewis Family, Rhonda Vincent, IIIrd Tyme Out, Pine Mountain Railroad, New Found Road, Dan Paisley, Don Rigsby, Cherryholmes and more.

Bluegrass 101 Festival, Bullitt Co. Fair Grounds, August 24-25: Friday, Bluegrass 101, Kentucky Sassafras, Karl Shiflett, Lincoln County Process. Saturday, Bluegrass 101, Bluegrass Journeyman, Kentucky Wind, Karl Shiflett and Tommy Brown.

Bluegrass In The Smokies, August 23-25 Sevierville, Tenn., Paul Williams, Alecia Nugent, Bradley Walker, Larry Sparks, IIIRD Tyme Out, The Fritts Family, VW Boys, Dean Osborn Band, Phillip Akeman and more.

And now you know what I know at the moment. Keep bluegrassin', stay tuned for Sunday Bluegrass every Sunday night 8-11, 91.9 FM and/or streaming audio, Glad to have you.