Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

August, somehow you seemed so long. Your weather was pretty decent, but a little more rain would have been nice. So here we are now on the backside of summer, fall is not too far off, and the never-ending cycle of life goes on. I'm thinking there's a lot of September to look forward to. School is back in session already and it's time to get the summer outdoor chores done, and other activities kinda ready for fall, followed all too close by winter.

Strictly Bluegrass

Mark the second Saturday in September as the revival of Gary Brewer's Strictly Bluegrass festival. This time it will be held at the Veteran's Park by the River in West Point. It is still free. You should be there.

I am sure most of you have heard this, but just for someone who may have missed it, Don Helms died Monday, August 11. And for those who need a slight memory jog, Don was Hank Williams SR's steel guitar player for all of those years.

I wasn't actually acquainted with Don but did have the opportunity to talk with him a few times. On one of those occasions I had started the Hank SR. New Year's Day tribute show a year or two before. Honest injun, Don looked me in the eye and said something to the effect, "You are the first one." The last contact I had with him I was planning to have him, by phone, on the next New Year's Day show. I think he and I both forgot the time change between here and Nashville, and it didn't happen. Don, you are another great and influential one who has left us.

Staying Put

Another one you may have heard by now: One of the two killers of Stringbean was expecting to get out on parole recently. The good news came last month that he was turned down. If I remember correctly, he will not be eligible again until 2011.

Pickin's Not Slim

Jams seem to be picking up every week. By that I mean that attendance seems to be growing and THAT is a good thing a very good thing.

Bobby Smith (USA ret.), one of the organizers of the Vine Grove jam, wants to let everybody know that some of the jammers are going to show their stuff this month in preparation for the Vine Grove Bluegrass Festival.
Here's what he had to say in his jam newsletter: Berk Bryant's Sunday Bluegrass , WFPK 91.9FM: Folks, get ready to hear Vine Grove pickers on Berk's show again. Looks like Sunday, the 14th of September. Berk is going to open up his studio again to allow some pickers to come up and promote bluegrass, the Band Scramble, the Kick-Off Jam and the Vine Grove Bluegrass Festival. Remember... if you can't get Berk's show from 8-11p.m. each Sunday due to your location you can go to the WFPK website and listen to a live broadcase on your computer.
Thanks Bobby, I think that covers the situation very well.

Working 9 to 5

I was at the Kentucky State Fair doing my yearly gig for the Radcliff / Ft. Knox Tourism Bureau on the 19th. An all-day, 9-5, stint for me. I always enjoy it. You get to visit with so many wonderful people who come by the booth. This time many folks who know me or listen to Sunday Bluegrass stop by to visit or meet me for their first time. Just talking with other kind folks who are passing I may have located a few new listeners. Hope so. Also, for my entertainment AND theirs I get an excellent chance to practice some of my magic. That is a lot of fun. If you were one of them, THANKS.

Sassafras in Japan

The last of July, some members of Sassafras Chloe, I think Tyler, Kim (Chloe's mom), and five of her school bluegrass band members went to Japan. A city just north of Tokyo paid the way. Congratulations for that. I'm waiting to hear all about it.

Where and When: Jams, Jams, Jams

• Colesburg Baptist Church, every Friday night.

• Shepherdsville City Park by Salt River 6 p.m. till dark.

• Silver Heights Bingo Hall, 9206 Blue Lick Road, Louisville.

• Vine Grove Optimist Park, 6 till folks go home.

• Bluegrass on the Belle of Louisville every Sunday afternoon: Sept. 7, Fresh Cut Grass. Sept. 14, Next Exit. Sept. 21, Easy Pickens. Sept. 28, Pickin' Time.

• And don't forget the Strictly Bluegrass Festival, West Point, Sept. 13.

• The Vine Grove Bluegrass Festival, Sept. 26-27: Fri, the 26th, Vine Grove Bluegrass Band, Mike Webb & Charlie Collins (was a Smokey Mountain Boy with Roy Acuff), Billie Renee & Cumberland Gap, Sammy Adkins & Sandy Hook Boys. Sat., the 27th, Vine Grove Jammers, IIIrd Tyme Out, James King Band, Dailey & Vincent, Tommy Brown & County Line Grass, Bluegrass 101. Clogger James Reame was originally scheduled for Sat. but had to cancel.

I think this about wraps it up for this time. Keep it on 91.9 for Sunday Bluegrass. Bluegrass, Traditional Country, Old Time Country aw, you guys know the drill. I'll be listening/looking for you AND you be looking/listening for me. Thank y'all!