Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

School is in, Labor Day is here and we can see the end of summer coming. Hot as it may have been, I still favor summer and miss it when it is gone again. I hope you enjoyed yours in spite of the blast-furnace days we had. Those days serve a very good purpose and that is to make us appreciate the cooler days of fall. Then it becomes a trade-off of hot for cool, few rain drops and many falling leaves. Leaves, which, I suspect, may rain down a bit early in place of and because of the raindrops we didn't get. That's the way it is; seems every life's second, minute brings a life change no matter how moot or small.

Rineyville's First

Rineyville had its first Rineyville Annual Bluegrass Festival this last month. The weather cooperated with a clear day, hot but not nearly as hot as the days/weeks preceding the event. Venders were there, bands were there. Well, almost. A case of "if something can go wrong it WILL." That old time-change factor resulted in part of one band being late, which called for a little shuffle. WE can handle it.

My friend Harold Clark, who mainly pulled this all together, played first. When it was time for the band with the missing members and no other group to move up, it was Fields of Grass (Harold's band) to the rescue. They went back on and filled the void. Soon the band Riverbottom was complete and ready to go on.

Final results: Everything went smoothly with only a half hour offset in the schedule.

Harold had a surprise guest for everyone during his opening act. A longtime friend, longtime Grand Ole Opry member, half of the one of the great comedy teams, Lonzo & Oscar. Oscar Sullivan, 88, was invited to the stage and for thirty minutes was in true form of twenty years ago.

Although the attendance was not what was hoped for, it was enough to be indicative of the possibility of good things to come. The folks who attended had a good day.

Bob's Buffalo Bar-B-Que & Bluegrass

My friend Bob Hill, of Courier Journal and WFPL fame, is having his second annual Buffalo Bar-B-Que & Bluegrass Music Festival September 8 (10 a.m.-8 p.m.) and September 9 (12 noon- 5 p.m.). Bluegrass musicians welcome both days; open jam sessions with multiple stages available. Everybody is invited. I have been there and it's quite a place. Hidden Hill Nursery, 1011 Utica-Charlestown Road, Utica, IN. Call 812-282-0524 for more information or e-mail

Belle's Bluegrass Over for Year

The Belle of Louisville has finished its Sunday Afternoon Bluegrass Cruises for this year. There were good crowds and good food on the buffet. Looking forward to next year.

I met a lot of nice folks, both local and from out of town and out of the country. I met and chatted with a very nice couple from Canada. They were in town for some type of business meeting and he was due to sign and receive his registration packet Sunday. Having heard about the bluegrass cruise, he told them he would have to sign in later. They told me they can't find much bluegrass in Canada and promised to become regular listeners to my show. Now that's a good thing.

Bluegrass Optimists

The jam sessions on Monday nights at the Optimist Park at Vine Grove are thriving with both listeners and pickers. A couple of nights the heat took a slight toll, but it's still going - and will continue to be. Come join the entertainment and camaraderie.

Speaking of jams, they are planning an unusual one for the night before opening of the Vine Grove Bluegrass Festival: Bluegrass Festival Kick-Off Jam, Thursday, September 20 at 6 p.m.: Band Scramble. And it goes like this.

1. All of the participating pickers drop their names into a bucket marked with the type of instrument they play. A picker can only enter their name once.

2. The MC draws a name from each bucket until a full band's worth is drawn. One vocalist, one guitar, one banjo, etc. The process is repeated until all names are gone.

3. The bands get 15 minutes to meet each other and come up with three songs. A traditional bluegrass number, a gospel number and an instrumental . All the bands practice the same 15-minute period to allow the opportunity to enjoy the other bands as they play and to ensure the practice time is fair.

4. Bands are called up one by one to perform the numbers the have put together.

5. Everyone, the pickers and the audience, have a blast. A good way to meet new people doing something you love to do. YOU WILL HAVE A GOOD TIME!! (That's military talk.)


Cumberland River Bluegrass Festival, September14-15. Dr. Joseph Schickel Veterans Memorial Park, Burkesville, Ky.: IIIrd Tyme Out, Shadow Ridge and David Parmley & Continental Divide. Starts mid-morning and goes until it's over. So says the flier and it's FREE!

The Vine Grove Bluegrass Festival, September 21- 22:Friday, Cherryholmes, Carolina Rebels and Lincoln County Process (a.k.a. Cast Iron Aeroplane). Saturday, IIIrd Tyme Out, Wright Sisters, Boys From Kentucky, Carolina Rebels, Bluegrass 101, Blue River and Carefree Highway.

October is coming and that means The Museum of Appalachia Tennessee Fall Homecoming is coming - October 11-14. Any of you good folks who may be regulars or first timers, plan now. It is a wonderful experience for all ages. An experience of seeing and learning about things "new" to many and a time and place for reflection and reminiscing for many. Music on four stages starting 8:30 a.m. and continuing till dark. Arts and crafts (must be Appalachian; no imports), demonstrations of the old ways and exhibits, plus some good food to be enjoyed.

Y'all come now, you hear? And keep that radio at 91.9 FM every Sunday night from 8-11. You'll get Sunday Bluegrass, bluegrass, traditional country and old time country. Sometimes it's a learning experience. Thank ya!