Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

It's here, May is here, spring is here for real -I hope. Anyhow, flowers are beautifying the neighborhood and the world, temperatures are showing signs of summer, yes, summer. It's that time when we can sleep with the windows open, sit outside in the evening, get your daily exercise swatting mosquitoes and, if you're really lucky, there might be a neighbor stopping by for a chat. Oh yeah, those are the days we should be resurrecting, along with a few other things many of us grew up with. Give it a try, right now with the start of May. Speaking of starting something, I've noticed the sound of lawnmowers is on the increase.

So I don't forget to include this like I did last month - my dear friend Wade Mainer turned 101 on March 21. I had a good chat with Wade a few days before and he's doing fine. We were talking about the huge party thrown for him every year and that he had been working on a few things with Julia for a little show. He also told me he would like to record again - record the songs and things the way he wants to and with pickers that can play them they way they used to do it. Wade, I would love to see that happen. May you have many more birthdays with blessings to match, my friend.

Vine Grove Jam

The band scramble at Vine Grove jam was good. A lot of folks were there - lot of pickers and spectators. Seems more and more folks are coming from "a fer piece out of town" and joining in. A couple who happened to be visiting from California enjoyed the evening. Welcome y'all! The jam is planning to move back to the park the first Monday in June. I think all of the regulars and irregulars are looking forward to that. Vine Grove The City has really supported the jams. Offered the city hall for use during the indoor months and that was a real help to keep continuity for the jammers. Thanks for the support, Vine Grove! Come on down and join the fun; everyone is welcome. And it's free.

Forest Fest

The festival YOU don't want to miss is just a couple of weeks away: Forest Fest. Yep, Jefferson Memorial Forest. They will have to go some to top the one they have planned this year. There's Stone Hollow, Dozens of Dollars, Bluegrass 101, Kentucky Sassafras and Dr. Ralph Stanley. What more could you ask? Done! It is FREE. Show time 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Look for me and I'll look for you.

More Vine Grove Notes

The word is officially out that the jams will move back to the Optimist Park on Monday, April 28. New event on Monday, May 12, is the first anniversary of the Vine Grove Bluegrass Jam and will feature an instrument swap meet. Now's the time for a little "horse trading" (a term that applies to this sort of thing) of no-longer-needed, new, used (instruments with experience), UNabused dust catchers disguised as musical instruments. A very good time to get that better instrument for a beginner or just trade up for anybody. I can just about hear it now: Hey mom, look what Dad got ME at the jam today. I'm gonna be a (fill in instrument) player/picker. Basic Rules (they're always in there somewhere): No. 1. Instruments or instrument-related items only. No. 2. Individuals only. Got it!

Vine Grove Spring Fling springs forth like a blooming redbud tree on Saturday, May 24. Donna Broadway, the city events coordinator, has asked for jammers to take part and the response to that is no less than you would expect from bluegrass folks. YES. Pickers wanted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Back at Shepherdsville

April 18 the Wildwood Valley Boys were back at Shepherdsville. A top show that you expect from this fine group with roots back to the Boys From Indiana. It was such a good time to enjoy a visit with them at the Kitchen after the show. Always enjoy sitting and chatting with these groups at any opportunity. Aubrey, Tony Holt and all of the guys, keep up the great bluegrass tradition.

The final show of the season for Shepherdsville had Tommy Brown and County Line Grass with Sammy Adkins and Sandy Hook Mountain Boys.

Cruisin' Bluegrass

Bluegrass Cruises star on the beautiful Belle of Louisville this month. Every Sunday, May 25 through October 26. Boarding starts at 1p.m. and cruise from 2 to 4 p.m. These cruises were very well received last summer and I am glad to see them going again.

There is a cruise listed in the schedule for May 11. Some of the participating bands: May 11, Next Exit, Patent Pending, Fresh Cut Grass. June 22, KY Sassafras, Pickin' Time, Goober Says Hey and some TBA. Some of these groups will repeat throughout the season. Great buffet, too. Good music, good food, good fellowship and good cruising. YEA!

Finishing Up

Now, let's finish this off with a couple of upcoming events.

•The Bardstown Bluegrass Festival will be June 6 and 7 with Bluegrass 101: Friday, KY Sassafras, Tommy Brown and County Line Grass, Vince Combs and Shadetree Grass. Saturday, KY Sassafras, David Davis and Warrior River Boys, Tommy Brown and County Line Grass and Kentucky Wind.

•June 19-21, Vince Combs 20th Annual Bluegrass Festival at Hindman, KY. Thursday, East Kentucky Grass, Mountain Melody, New Cut Grass, Ramblin' Grass and Mountain Drive. Friday, Bluegrass Brothers, Vince Combs, Tommy Webb, Bo Issacs, Bluegrass 101 and Johnny Browning. Saturday, Joe Issacs, Vince Combs, Kody Norris Band, Glen Ritchie Band, Dean Osborne Band and Bluegrass 101.

• June 26-29, Music In The Mountains Bluegrass Festival, Summersville Music Park, Summersville, West Virginia: Some of the featured acts will be Cherryholmes, Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show, Ronie Reno and Reno Tradition, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Michael Cleveland and Flame Keeper, Wildwood Valley Boys, Tim Graves and Cherokee, Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain, Larry Stephenson Band, J.D. Crowe and The New South, Rhonda Vincent and Rage, Dailey and Vincent, Lewis Family and so many more.

Thank y'all and class is dismissed for this time. Now you tune in on Sunday nights to keep up. For the uninitiated, that's Sunday Bluegrass, WFPK 91.9FM, 8-11 p.m. playing bluegrass, traditional country and old-time country.

If you are reading this somewhere else or want to share the good fortune with faraway friends, remind them that WFPK is streaming audio to the world and can be heard on the Internet anywhere you can go on line. Go to our web - WFPK.org - and it'll tell you what to do. That's it folks. Y'all come back now, you hear?