Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

It's bad enough when I can't decipher my notes or even make out what they mean, but it's even worse when I can't find them - and that's the case today. I kind of vaguely remember what some of them were about, so we'll just go from there.

I suppose we are having typical August weather. The batteries are low in my crystal ball at the time I'm writing this and I just don't know what the weather actually is. But with August being where it is on the calendar - right between the middle of summer and the beginning transition month of September - hot is probably a pretty fair guess.

Whatta ROMP

R.O.M.P. was quite an event this year. Thursday night was good for me; it was the gathering of the legends. There was quite a stageful to be recognized. I saw and met some I hadn't seen for a long time, some I had never seen and some I was able to get more acquainted with than I had been. One gentleman I had seen but never met was Tex Logan. Chatted with him a bit. Tex is probably best known as the writer of "Christmas Time's A-Coming." He's also a pretty-well-known fiddler.

One fellow I met for the first time was one of the Brewster Brothers I was able to clear up a question I've had for many years. I remember in the Fifties I got a 45 by Carl Story. The Brewster Brothers were playing for him at the time and on one side of the record they recorded "Mocking the Banjo." Their version was done with mandolin and banjo. A couple of weeks later I received "Feuding Banjos" by Arthur Smith and Don Reno.

My question was: Who had the first record? The answer was this: Smith and Reno recorded it first. For some reason, their recording was not released right away and the Brewsters' was released first. If I remember correctly, the Brewsters were on Mercury and the Reno/Smith label was MGM. Mystery? Solved.

When I first got down to Owensboro, I went straight to the Museum. Sitting right there in the lobby was Kenny Baker and Eddie Adcock and several others passing through.

Bill Grant came in and he is one of them I hadn't seen for too long. I was really glad to see him; he is one of my favorites. Bill has a new CD. It has a lot of songs he has wanted to record - some of the "real" country songs - and hadn't been able to before now. He told me he had a sick spell a while back and after that he and Delia Bell didn't get back. Bill told me the new CD wasn't really bluegrass and I should listen first. I did that and there is a flavor of old country and a flavor of bluegrass. I had already told him I would play it on my show and I have.

There were many more legends: The McCormick Brothers, Osborne Brothers, Tony Ellis, Doug and Rodney Dillard, Roni Stoneman, Rose Lee Maphis, Jim Smoak, Bobby Hicks, Tom and Jerry Holt and a list too long for me to remember. All of these great musicians were introduced on stage Thursday night. They returned on Friday morning to share stories from 9-11:30. All of this was videoed by the museum.

Lunch was served to all attendees following the road stories, true stories and life on the road.

At lunch, I sat at a table with the Dillards! From the first time I ever saw them as the Darlings on the Andy Griffith show, it never crossed my mind that I would ever meet them, much less have lunch or any other meal and/or conversation experience with them.

Life's experiences and memories are being made everyday. Y'all say we old folks are forgetful and can't remember things. Well just try this: We've got so much more to remember it just takes a wee bit longer to locate it and bring it up. My computer is the same way.

I suppose you've gotten the idea that ROMP was a very good weekend. My dear friend Wade Mainer had been invited and very strongly asked to come but didn't. I talked with him a few days before and he told me to tell Gabrielle he really appreciated the invitation but he didn't think he ought to try to go it this time. He added, "Tell her to please keep him in mind for next year." By then he will be 102.

What's Happenin'?

Wondering what country music is coming to and shuddering at the thought of our bluegrass and where some of the dedicated stars may be taking it? Here is a an extract from the Doug Davis Classic Country newsletter on the Internet that I copied from his question and answers section this third week of July:

QUESTION: I realize that country music is going to the dogs, but I recently heard that some rap dude has something going on with Johnny Cash songs. What is that all about?

ANSWER: Snoop Dogg is among those participating in "Johnny Cash Remixed," a new album featuring bold remixes of recordings licensed from Sun Records, Cash's first label.

Snoop Dogg is featured on "I Walk the Line," a remix by QDT, a new production team he has formed with Teddy Riley and DJ Quik. Other remixes include "Get Rhythm" by Philip Steir (the only remixer allowed to work with Frank Sinatra's recordings for Reprise Records) and "Leave That Junk Alone" by Alabama 3 (creators of theme to The Sopranos).

A vinyl version of the Compadre Records/Music World Music project will be available in select independent record stores on September 23. It will be available at other stores and online beginning October 14.

"My father made his stead by defying the expected and accepted way of things," said John Carter Cash, who serves as an executive producer of Remixed. "He set the standard at the same time. He would have loved this remix record. While it stays true to the original recordings, this CD touches on undiscovered ground. This is what my father was about: staying true to tradition while creating groundbreaking new music."

QUESTION: The radio folks were talking about Ricky Skaggs and Rosanne Cash recording jazz music. Is that true?

ANSWER: Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs are featured on an upcoming "Oceans of Diamond" album by jazz bassist Charlie Haden, to be released on September 23rd on Decca.

Will you be looking forward to your copy?

Okay, I'm beginning to infringe on space, so I had better cut to the bottom line and let you know who is pickin'.

JAMS: Colesburg Baptist Church, Friday nights. Vine Grove Optimist Park, Monday nights. New Silver Heights Bingo Hall, Blue Lick Road, Louisville, Tuesday 5:30 p.m. Shepherdsville City Park, Tuesday 6:30 'til dark.

Gary Brewer at West Point Veteran's Park by the River, second Saturday each month, noon to 6 p.m. and ending with his Strictly Bluegrass Festival in September

Corydon, Ind., Hog Operation and Steel Drivers on the square, 4 p.m.

Bluegrass 101 Festival at Bullitt Co. Fairgrounds, August 22-23. Friday, Bluegrass 101, Shades Of Grass, Buck and Company and Blue River. Saturday, Bluegrass 101, Paul Williams and Victory Trio, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, Vince Combs and Shadetree Grass and Kentucky Wind.

Belle of Louisville Sunday Bluegrass cruises will have Goober Says Hey on the 3rd, Next Exit on the 10th, Fresh Cut Grass the 17th, Goober Says Hey the 24th and Fresh Cut Grass the 31st.

Well, I guess that'll hold you until next time. If I remember anything else in the meantime, I'll tell you next time. Keep listening to WFPK 91.9 and "Sunday Bluegrass" each Sunday night 8- 11 p.m. Until then, y'all behave, tune in, turn it up loud and share it with the neighbors these warm nights. All of that and AMEN!