Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

I am stuck. Either nothing has really happened since the last effort or I have forgotten. Well, that could be the answer. Having said that, here's to a good, fun, SAFE Fourth of July. Remember we're celebrating our country. OUR country, the one we were born in, grew up in and protect, like no other country in the world. A way of life many others come to us for and one very few of our people leave.

Now what do I do. I've been considering something to add here. Folks, listeners, ask me questions about one artist or another and just general questions about our music. A subject that comes up from time to time is who taught Earl Scruggs the "three finger" style. For fun, I'll ask that question and get varied answers, including Stringbean. I am not sure if String played three finger, [he played] primarily claw hammer or drop thumb. Earl got the three finger from a fellow in his area named Snuffy Jenkens. Snuffy was an old-time banjo player and, if I remember correctly now, I think he played in some old-time medicine shows. Yes, back in the old days there were actually traveling medicine shows. The closest thing I can think of that was sixty years ago, plus or minus, when the Hadacol show was traveling the country, featuring some of the real country stars, for example, Carl Smith, Jimmy Dickens and Hank Williams, on a few of them. As Ron Thompson would say, I told you that to tell you this. Earl learned the three-finger style from Snuffy and did what hadn't been done with it. He then served time with Bill Monroe. After leaving Bill Monroe and joining up with Lester Flatt, the two of them with the Foggy Mountain Boys did the most to popularize Bluegrass Music.

It's time for Bluegrass On The Square at Corydon, IN. I didn't have the schedule in time to pass along the June show, so here's what's left: July 25, Common Ground plus Michael Cleveland and Flame Keeper. August 25, Fresh Cut Grass and The Boxcars. These are free shows. If I remember right, I think show times are 4 p.m. Michael Cleveland will be recorded for John Gage's "Kentucky Homefront" radio show, which airs at 8 p.m. Saturdays on WFPK 91.9 FM.

A word about bluegrass jams, Attending the jams, whether as a visitor, picker or learner, supports bluegrass. For the "visitor," your presence indicates you have an interest in bluegrass music and in finding a good way to meet and make new friends. Attending as a "picker" adds a bit more to the jams and their purpose. If you are a "learner" otherwise considered a beginner a jam is normally very good to get help in your progression on the instrument you have chosen.

Check out the following jams: Tuesdays BG show or jam (alternating) at Corner Door Bar, 2222 Dundee Rd., Louisville 7 p.m. Wednesdays Bluegrass Anonymous jam at BBC St. Matthews, 3929 Shelbyville Rd. Louisville 7:30, also Wednesdays, Relic and Friends at the Monkey Wrench, 1025 Barrett Ave., Louisville 9 p.m. Thursdays Hickory Vaught and Friends at Blu Café at Marriott Hotel, 280 W. Jefferson Louisville 8 12 p.m.. Also Thursdays, Open Jam at Hillview City Hall, Hillview/Louisville 6 p.m. Breckenridge Bluegrass Music Asoc. At McQuady Fire House, 6 9 p.m. (CT). Fridays: Vine Grove City Hall Jam, 300 W. Main St., Vine Grove, Kentucky 6 10 p.m.. Colesburg, Kentucky Baptist Church 6p.m..

OK, that's it for now. Well almost, be sure you are tuned to WFPK 91.9 FM, streaming audio to the world Sunday night 8 11p.m. for "SUNDAY BLUGRASS." Then we can go get a doughnut, coffee too.