Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

MARCH, you sure 'blowed' in with your traditional 'roar like a lion,' then eased up and settled down a bit. Now, as I am writing, you have become great days of early spring. Early spring, late winter, etc. ... according to the calendar. I've been thinking about that and it seems to me the seasons just don't check the calendar to find their time of arrival or departure. Spring, summer, fall and winter come and go as they please and that's that. Either way, it's here. So enjoy. I'm glad it's here so I can sit out front, watch the birds come to feed, read the morning paper while enjoying a cup of coffee, and saying "Good morning" to neighbors as they walk their dogs or just walk by. We'll see what happens with April. After all, April showers bring May flowers.

Won't You Please Come Home?

Ever (Every?) so often I see a reference in a newspaper or some other periodical regarding the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association). There seems to be many FANS, folks, musicians and vendors expressing a desire to have it come back to Louisville. There are a number of reasons for it to return, one of which is access. There are more interstate highways crisscrossing or near Louisville than Nashville. And I have heard quite a few concerns that Nashville is much more expensive than Louisville.

A True Legend

On April 5, WFPK presents Dr. Ralph Stanley at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville. It's been a bit too long since I've seen Ralph and as of now, I am planning to be there. As most of you know, I am a major fan of Ralph's and can say without hesitation that we are, and regard each other as, true friends. Ralph Stanley has won three Grammy awards and was nominated for a fourth. A true legend and bluegrass treasure. Makes me feel even prouder knowing he is a Virginian. There's only one Ralph Stanley and he will remain that way forever. I have noted and Ralph has said, "I have never heard anyone else that sounds like Ralph Stanley." He was 85 last February and is still going strong. Here's to you, Dr. Ralph, and may your banjo ring throughout the ages.

Forest Fest, May 19

Larry Sparks is the headliner this year's Forest Fest at Jefferson Memorial Forest. Other bands are Hog Operation, 23 Strings, and New Town. Most of you are familiar to some degree with these groups. Bands begin playing at 11 a.m. Each band plays twice, and to close the show, Larry Sparks goes on at 6 p.m. Children's and other activities continue until 5:30 p.m. A forest scavenger hunt for families and children starts at l p.m., with winners announced at 4:00. Various booths, crafts and vendors open throughout the day, closing at 7 p.m. As per usual, the show is free. Parking is $5 per car. A true family event for every family.

Coming Up

The jams continue at Breckenridge Bluegrass Music Association Jam at the McQuady Fire House 6-9 p.m. (CT) every Thursday. Hillview in Louisville every Thursday. Silver Heights Bingo Hall Tuesday nights. Holiday Inn on Hurstbourne, Louisville, every Thursday night. The "official" BA (Bluegrass Anonymous), Colesburg Baptist Church, Friday nights Colesburg, Kentucky. And Vine Grove, Kentucky, every Friday night.

For all jams, everyone is welcome. Come listen, come play if you are a picker and/or just come to get better acquainted with the music and its people. The Friday night bluegrass season at Shepherdsville winds up this month. Shepherdsville Music Barn, Route 44 West. Apr. 6, Big Country Bluegrass. Apr. 13, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Apr. 20, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road. And the finale, Apr. 27, The Wildwood Valley Boys.

Be sure to tune in to WFPK 91.9 FM Sunday nights 8-11 p.m. for "Sunday Bluegrass," bluegrass, traditional country and old-time country, plus occasional in-studio bands. And now with that said it's time to go get a doughnut.