Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

It's finally May, and not a May Pole in sight. If you are of the not-so-senile senior citizens, of which I am one, maybe you'll remember back, back to grade school when they had the May Pole with the long streamers. Everybody held on as the girls went one way and the boys went the other way, around and around the May Pole until the streamers were wound around pretty tight. Actually, betcha hadn't thought of a May Pole for far too many years. So let's go to the favorite saying about May: "April showers bring May flowers." Well, if there's anything to that we'll probably have pansies about the size of palm trees the way it was raining off and on last month.

Relic in E-town

Friday the seventeenth last, I had been asked by the local band Relic if I would come down to T. K. Stone School in Elizabethtown and talk to the youngsters about bluegrass music. So I did. It was an interesting experience to make a few comments about bluegrass music and some of the early stages of it. When the band played you could look at the youngsters and tell who was grabbing the music. You know, the feet start first, then some will be playing "air" banjos, guitars and the like. Relic gave them a good show and the full auditorium had a good day. I had the opportunity to get better acquainted with the band. They have been on "Sunday Bluegrass" in the studio.

Hazel Holler at Shepherdsville

Shepherdsville has finished the season of bluegrass shows until October. The next to the last show was Hazel Holler. I can't comment on the last show because it hadn't happened before my deadline for the paper. Hazel Holler came on, well-received by a receptive audience. The group is comprised of Shirley Seim, fiddle; Karen Yates, lead singer and guitar; and Michelle Wallace, bass and host of the radio show Bluegrass Sunday on WMKY in Morehead, Kentucky. This night Karen Yates could not be with them and Stacy York filled in. Also along for the ride was Jackie Thacker on banjo. CDs were available Hazel Holler/Stacy York/Shirley Seim. You will be hearing them on Sunday nights. I believe they are booked for the Vine Grove Festival.

The Pickin' Ranch with Whistlin' Rufus

I went to a taping of "The Pickin' Ranch," a show produced by Dan Boone, a very good friend in Louisville. It is shown on Insight channel 98 on Wednesdays at 7:30. It has a wide variety of subjects, music of various genres, etc. The taping I attended featured Whistlin' Rufus. These folks feature traditional/old time that is really quite popular with a much larger audience than you might suspect. I can make that observation from the response I get on my Sunday Bluegrass show. Try it; you could like it.

Bluegrass Busting Out All Over

Spring is here and bluegrass festivals are starting to burst into full bloom. YEAH! Forest Fest is rapidly approaching. Forest Fest on Holsclaw Hill, Jefferson Memorial Forest, Fairdale, Kentucky, May 16. They feature Cherryholmes, The Wildwood Valley Boys, along with Hog Operation, Buck Creek and Stone Hollow. As if that isn't enough, the show is FREE. There will be a $5 per car charge for parking. Is this a deal or what?

There's more.

Ernie West and John Collier Medal of Honor Memorial Bluegrass concert, May 22 at 7 p.m., Paroquet Springs, Shepherdsville, Kentucky Performers scheduled are Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Blue River and Bluegrass Express.

Festival travel could take you to Coburn, Virginia, for Dr. Ralph Stanley's 39th annual Memorial Weekend Bluegrass Festival. Ralph and the band will be there all three days. Thursday will have Dave Evans & River Bend, Cherryholmes, The Cumberland Highlanders, The Midnight Ramblers and The Lawsons. Friday follows up with Gillian Welch, The Lewis Family, Jim Lauderdale, James King Band and Summertown. Saturday winds up the big weekend with Larry Sparks & Lonesome Ramblers, Paul Williams & Victory Trio, Melvin Goins & Windy Mountain, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, George Shuffler and Tennessee Skyline.

June 5 and 6, Bardstown Festival at White Acres Campground: Bluegrass 101 both days. Friday the 5th, Kings Highway, Rough Edges and TBA (To Be Announced). Kentucky Sassafras was originally scheduled. A replacement band will be announced for Friday and Saturday. Saturday: David Davis & Warrior River Boys, Glenn Ritchie and Shades of Grass.

Winding Up

Let's wind this up with a brief reminder that the jams are still going strong. Vine Grove has moved back to Optimist Park and is now on Monday nights. Colesburg every Friday night, Colesburg Baptist Church. Jam every Tuesday night at Ray's Monkey House Coffee Shop, 1578 Bardstown Rd., 8 p.m. ‘til midnight. Thursday night jam at Zeppelin Café, 1036 Burnett in Louisville.

Gotta close this off for now. Happy festivaling (I made that up) and stay tuned to Sunday Bluegrass, Sunday 8-9 p.m., WFPK, 91.9 FM.