Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Well, I hope you, me, and all of us survived the July fry. Oh, it was a hot one. I guess we can hope that July wasn't just a warm-up for August. There will probably be some moderation in August. Think positive; it can't hurt and complaining didn't help. If you hung your washing outside on a line, it sure didn't take long to dry and didn't add to the electric bill, either. So be it.

U.S. Senator Robert Byrd, Mountain Fiddler

There is a new CD out on County label: U. S. Senator Robert Byrd, Mountain Fiddler. This was originally released quite a few years ago (1977) on LP. The CD is a good one. I have had quite a few listeners express surprise that Senator Byrd was a fiddler. I recall him making an appearance on the Opry years ago.

Accompanying musicians are a young Doyle Lawson, James Bailey and Spider Gilliam. Senator Byrd kept several fiddles in his Senate office. He also made good use of his talent on the campaign trail over the years. Must have worked. I think I had much rather see one of those guys fiddle a tune than out fiddling around. My take: The senator was a good fiddler. You will be hearing more of this on Sunday Bluegrass. [Any old fiddler can fool around, but any old fool can't fiddle a round.]

Romping Around

R. O. M. P. -- I'm sure you have heard of it. A big deal for and by the International Bluegrass Music Museum at the end of June. One of my favorite events during this is the Gathering of the Legends. I really enjoy seeing these gentlemen. Their stories -- the ones they can tell -- are good listening and good insight to the real person we associate with the music. You get to see many of the band members you haven't seen for a long time, some you have never seen and some you were actually acquainted with. The list is long. One I had never seen but knew of was Randall Franks. I really didn't know he was a former Bluegrass Boy, and with Bill about a year. Can recognize him as one of the officers in Heat Of The Night. Another good fiddler and a very pleasant gentleman.

My jammer friend Charlie Smith went with me for the weekend. There was a portion when former Bluegrass Boys gathered to jam on stage. Anyone was welcome to join in. After a little prodding from me, Charlie got his guitar and got right in with them. He was not the only one. Actually got to sing a couple of numbers. Good going, Charlie, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Festival show took place at Yellow Creek Park. Seems like I didn't mention this, thinking everybody knows where this is, but just in case, it's Owensboro, Kentucky. Again at the park another opportunity to see friends, reacquaint with some and make some new ones. It was HOT! We left early Saturday afternoon. A friend told me later that a lot of people were being affected by the heat. Some close to bad.

And now HEAR YEE, HEAR YEE, ok? Coming events:

Jams: Colesburg Baptist Church, Friday nights, 6:30. Hillview City Hall, Thursday night, 6 p.m. Vine Grove Optimist Park, every Monday night, 6 p.m.

Belle of Louisville Sunday Bluegrass cruises: Boarding starts at 1:30 p.m., cruise at 2 and return by 4. If you want the lunch buffet, call during the week to make reservations. They have an excellent caterer.

Bands: August 1st/22nd, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys. August 8th/29th. August15th Kentucky Blue.

For the travelers, Milan Bluegrass Festival, Milan, Michigan, August 13-15 with Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Rhonda Vincent, Dailey & Vincent, J.D. Crowe, Larry Stephenson, The Grascals and many more.

That's it, and there's Sunday Bluegrass every Sunday night for the last 21 years. WFPK 91.9 FM from 8-11 p.m. Turn it on, turn it up. Thanks, and see y'all.