Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

September, the door to Fall. Open wide, school starts, weather changes are in store and looking back at the hot and dry summer season, I think we can probably soon see coloring of the trees and some falling of the leaves. Then there are other things to look forward to, such as a variety of Fall Festivals. Some here, some there and some travel. Grab the opportunity before possible weather changes set in and spoil your appetite to get up and go.

Let's jam a bit. There are a lot of jams in and around the area. The bluegrass jams really do a service to the bluegrass community. Considering that "bluegrass community" means not only location but the folks and fans that attend. They are not only an opportunity for pickers of every level from beginner to pros to hone their skills a bit but beginners can get assistance and guidance from experienced musicians. There are many excellent, skilled pickers who are there for the enjoyment and are not in the professional group scene. Then there are attendees that come to listen, to visit bluegrass-found friends and first timers who are not too sure what bluegrass music and folks are like. A very good way to expand your life's circle. We know everybody will not take to it but here's first-hand opportunity to test it and to be sure.

Bluegrass and traditional country music is music that comes from within, from the heart with feeling. I don't play an instrument or sing, I didn't come with that gift but by observation, I offer this to beginners. You have to be dedicated to practice and put a lot of effort into developing. The guy or gal you hold in high esteem did not start at the level they have reached, they achieved a set goal. You are welcome to jams and festivals. It helps to keep bluegrass jams and concerts alive. It is Kentucky's music known around the world.

A couple of Fridays back there was a lady at the Vine Grove jam with a very interesting banjo. I can't tell as much about it as I would like to because I didn't have anything to make notes on. Names I'm not so good at, faces I remember. The lady lives in Elizabethtown, is a singer and a songwriter. The banjo she was showing was made by a gentleman in E-town. I believe she mentioned there were only twelve made. The work was excellent. The are referred to as the Hatfield and McCoy banjo. On the back is a picture of Randall McCoy and, yep, you guessed it, Devin Anse Hatfield. I mentioned that should be the banjo to play "Feuding Banjos." Okay, so it wasn't funny.

October is coming rather quickly. That means it's time for me to be getting my affairs in order to head for The Museum of Appalachia Tennessee Fall Homecoming at The Museum of Appalachia at Norris, Tennessee. If you haven't been, you should make a trip. The event this year is October 12-14. I emphasize that this is NOT a bluegrass festival but it is Appalachia. Music starts on five stages about 9 a.m. and continues all day. About 90% of what you hear will be considered bluegrass/Appalachia. There is much more than just the music. The museum has an outstanding display that takes you back in time to the days of your grandparents and more. Exhibits and demonstrations of how things were done in the old days and ways. It's a great place to take family and friends. A picture is worth a thousand words and being there is worth a thousand pictures. If you go, check by stage 3, I'll be there.

OK Jams Aplenty

Tuesday: Bluegrass show or jam alternates at Corner Door Bar, Dundee Rd., Louisville 7 p.m. Wednesday, BA jam at BBC St. Matthews, Shelbyville Rd. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Relic & Friends at the Monkey Wrench, Barrett Ave. 9 p.m. Thursday. Hickory Vaught & Friends at Blu Café, Marriott Hotel, W. Jefferson 8-12 p.m. Thursday, Hillview City Hall, Hillview, (Louisville) 6 p.m. Friday. Vinegrove City Hall, Vinegrove, Kentucky 6, 10 p.m.

The Belle of Louisville Sunday Bluegrass cruises. Cruises board at 1:30 p.m., cruise at 2 and return 4 p.m. Reservations for the lunch cruise must be made by Friday of that week. Reservations are not necessary for the scenic cruse. Bluegrass/lunch lineup September 2, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys (a favorite). September 9, BlueZenGrass. September 16, Amos Hopkins & The White Russians. September 23, Kentucky Blue. September 30, EZ Pickins'. Oct. 7, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys. For additional information call The Belle Office 502-574-2992.

The Potluck Ramblers will be part of the 9th annual Hidden Hill Bluegrass Festival Saturday, Sepember 8, 1-9 p.m. Hidden Hill is just 15 minutes from downtown Louisville in Utica, Indiana. For additional info, check their website at

Shepherdsville Music Barn, Sun. September 9, a Special Gospel Music Show featuring Cannon's Crossing. Questions, contact Monroe Rice 502-552-9771.

The 13th. Annual Vine Grove Bluegrass Festival is September 20-22. Thursday, 5:15 Draw for band scramble. Bluegrass 101, Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top Express.

Friday 5 p.m. Kody Norris & The Watauga Mountain Boys, Grasstown.

Saturday 11 a.m. Hot Mustard, The Lindsey Family, Karl Shifflett & Big Country Show, Danny Paisley & Southern Grass, Melvin Goins & Windy Mountain, The Grascals. Whoowee, now that's a way to wind up September.

Don't forget to tune in WFPK 91.9 FM Sunday night 8, 11 p.m. That's Louisville, then it's time to go get a doughnut.