Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

July … hot as a firecracker. August ... back to school and maybe a little cooling off period. August is sort of caught in the middle between Summer and Fall. Well, a lot of things seem to be that way. A bit of sunlight bright spot in this will be the various Fall Festivals and events that so many look forward to.

Some of these events present a tangible opportunity to the way things used to be. Get a good look and feel of life before ... life and its pace. One of my favorites, which I have been a part of for twenty some years, is the Tennessee Fall Homecoming at The Museum Of Appalachia, Norris, Tennessee. That is an October event. More about that when October gets here.

One thing sort of leads to another and this puts me in mind of occasional questions concerning my WFPK radio program. My basic desire was, and still is, to get the artists and music I feature played; great artists that nobody else plays. Kitty Wells, THE Queen of Country Music, who at the time of this writing was the latest to pass (July 16), broke open the way for female singers in 1952 when she was the first female singer to have a No. 1 hit on the country charts. It was the song "It Wasn't God Who Made Honkey Tonk Angels" that made it to the top of the chart. There are many more artists who shouldn't be forgotten, and that's where much of my dedication comes from. Additional encouragement comes from listeners by emails. Comments such as, "It is amazing the changes in what people call "hillbilly" or country music of the old days of the early 1900s. My father enjoyed all of the artists from Uncle Dave Macon to Jim & Jesse. Thanks again for all the great music, interviews and your interpretations of music." This and many others help reassure me that there IS an audience a large audience for traditional country and old-time country, which includes bluegrass then and now. My thanks to all of you who may read this and are listeners. YOU help keep the spirit alive.

I finally got myself going and made a call to the Belle; right, the Belle of Louisville. Folks have been asking about the Sunday bluegrass cruises. I hadn't heard or seen anything this year, but now I know. They are having the Sunday afternoon Bluegrass Cruises. Cruises board at 1:30 p.m., cruise at 2:00 and back by 4:00. August 5: Kentucky Blue. August 12: ?. August 19: Amos Hopkins & the White Russians. August 26: EZ Pickins', and September 2: Whiskey Bent Valley Boys.

Another local bluegrass promoter passed this last month. C. R. Wilson, who kept Friday-night bluegrass going at the Shepherdsville Music Barn, passed July 18. C.R., well-known and widespread in the Louisville area plus, had bluegrass going when I got to the area and that has been 30 years now, give or take a year or so. Many of the biggest stars in bluegrass played there regularly. Among C.R.'s biggest attractions was a combination of Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley. Then, just to name a few, there were acts like the Osborne Bros., IIIrd Tyme Out, Doyle Lawson, The Boys From Indiana and many more. The first time I saw and met the Kruger Bros. was at Shepherdsville.

C.R., the show goes on and your spirit will be there.

OK, here is what's going on in the area: Bluegrass Anon (BA) jam at BBC, St. Matthews, Wednesdays, 7:30 pm.

Relic & Friends at the Monkey Wrench, Wednesdays, 9 p.m.

Hickory Vaught & Friends at Blu Café, Marriott Hotel, 812 p.m. Thursdays

Hillview City Hall, 6p.m., Thursday; Vine Grove City Hall, Vine Grove, Ky., Friday nights 610 pm.; Colesburg, Ky., Baptist Church, Fridays, 6 pm.

Corydon, Ind., Bluegrass On The Square at 4 p.m., July 28, featuring Common Ground and Michael Cleveland & Flame Keeper. Bring chairs and you.

Well folks, that's a wrap for August. Still at it as of this writing, Sunday Bluegrass with the Country Gentleman, WFPK 91.9 FM, and streaming bluegrass to the world each Sunday night from 8 until 11 p.m. EST. What's that you said about a doughnut?