Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Right now as you are reading this it’s November. Right now as I am writing this, it’s mid October and some pretty chilly temperatures have set in. Actually, this morning there was frost on the rooftops and golden leaves on and off the trees. Although I am a summertime person, if we must have “change,” this is the kind of change I would prefer. This is pretty much of a segue way into the much-anticipated end-of-the-year holiday season. Time for traditions to take hold and get back to basics. I don’t have to tell you, we all know down deep what Thanksgiving is really all about and it may be old-fashioned. You know the drill: going home to family, relaxing, spending Thanksgiving day around the family table, enjoying that big old turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, ham and, of course, homemade pumpkin pie plus. If this is somehow yea, yea old fashioned stuff, I’ll have a double helping, thank you very much.

Tennessee Fall Homecoming

My trip to The Tennessee Fall Homecoming at Norris, Tennessee last month was another good event. Attendance was down a bit this time as it has been in many places these past few months. Some of the regulars (performers) were not there this time. One group, that coincidently someone asked me about a few days before, was back this time. The Cluster Pluckers were back. They had taken some time off and were back. Glad to see that.

Raymond Fairchild, the gentleman that plays the theme I use for my Sunday Bluegrass show, was there as usual. Raymond was on my stage a couple of times and one time I asked him to play “Flying South.” He made a point of telling the audience that was the theme I use and have been using for 20 years. Raymond Fairchild is a very interesting individual and one I am glad to call friend, not just an acquaintance, a friend. This time I spotted some DVDs on his table and came away with three of them. I bought them. Having watched them not quite sure what to expect, I now know I made a good buy. I would suggest if you are a banjo fan and/or a Raymond Fairchild fan, you would be glad to have one or all of these. One is titled Banjo Man, The Story Of Raymond Fairchild, The Life & Music of a Banjo Master. Raymond is five times world banjo champion, known as the King of the Smokey Mountain Banjo. Second DVD is titled OPRY HOUSE Memories – Some Old, Some New. This is a compilation of excerpts from performances at the Maggie Valley Opry House. They include Raymond Fairchild, Chubby Wise, Rob Mashburn, Zane Fairchild, The Crowe Brothers and more. All good. My introduction of Raymond is he is half Indian, half mountain man and all banjo man. The third DVD is titled Mountain People, Mountain Dew – Moonshine over Cataloochee. From the DVD cover, “Through a mixture of music, interviews and the actual runoff a batch of moonshine, experience the lore and craft of the art of liquor making as it has been practiced by mountain people for generations.” For information on how to purchase go to www.raymondfairchild.com or call 828-648-7941 or 627-9425.

The folks at the museum have asked me to come down one day and talk about the Homecoming. Feedback and observations. I hope to do that in the near future. As most of you know I am a big fan of The Homecoming and the Museum

Fall Fund Drive

The fall fund drive for Louisville Public Media, WFPK, WFPL and WUOL was last month. Thanks, many thanks to all of the faithful listeners, fans and supporters for your participation. We met the goals set for us, in this case Michael Young, “Roots and Boots” and “Sunday Bluegrass.” These are the only results I have at the typing time of this column. I had a response from a listener in Boulder, Colorado, who said he “had never appreciated bluegrass until he listened to my show”. Thank you sir.

Pickin'

The jams that you are accustomed to are still going, with a couple of exceptions I can think of. The jam at the Zeppelin café has been canceled and the Vine Grove jam is now in City Hall on Friday nights. Friday nights,

Yes, Shepherdsville is open and Nov. 6 – Tommy Brown, 13th – Blue Creek Ramblers, 20th. – Gene Thompson & Crossroads, 27th – Bluegrass 101, Dec. 4th – Vince Combs & Shadetree Grass. Looking a little ways ahead, Dailey & Vincent have been confirmed for Forest Fest next spring.

OK boys and girls, Have a great Thanksgiving and be thankful. Sty tuned to WFPK 91.9 for Sunday Bluegrass each Sunday night 8 – 11 and streaming audio from WFPK.org. Next time y’all.