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Issue: January 2008
Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

Happy New Year!!

The year 2007 is behind us now and a whole unused year is straight ahead. Make the best of it. Resolutions - well, make them if you want to and don't be disappointed if they are not as easy to keep as they may be to make. You are not alone.

Now, back to the part about making the best of it. Before getting too deep into the new year, review the year just past, or finished if you will. A good review to pick out the mistakes you do not want to make again, benefit being recognition and experience, lesson learned. On the other hand, there had to be some great events to hold on to and with any luck something or some things are in store for this year that will be equal to or better. Go forth with great expectations.

The Doctor Was In

On November 30, Dr. Ralph Stanley was at Shepherdsville. I had the good fortune to visit with Ralph for about a half-hour on the bus before show time. Just Ralph and me. Come next month - February - Ralph will be 81 and still going. I for one hope he will be going for many more years to come.

His grandson Nathan is really developing in and with the band. At 15 he is playing mandolin and singing. To me, Nathan is looking more and more like his uncle Carter. His voice has the flavor of Ralph developing.

In our chatting, Ralph reflected on the voice - his voice - and pointed out that he hasn't heard anyone who sounds like him. Dr. Stanley freely acknowledges God gave him his voice and its uniqueness.

I appreciate the way Ralph has treated me over the years, every time, everywhere I have seen him. Thank you sir. Ralph is the definition of a legend, along with John Hartford, Hank Williams SR. and others. These are names of the Twentieth Century that will long be remembered in the music world for their influence and impact on the music business.

Remembering Hank

I mentioned Hank Williams Sr. If you are reading this before January 1, you will know ahead of time that the annual New Year's Day Hank Williams show has been cut to three hours rather than the annual four. Hank Williams is not a "fringe" artist that I have read. Hank died 55 years ago this New Year's Day. He has many fans who were not born until some years after he died. How many do we have around today who will be remembered in this way ten years from now or ten years after they have passed on? The Hank Williams legacy is still an influence in the music field.

Jammin' in City Hall

The Vine Grove jam sessions on Friday nights are surviving rather well. To reiterate, the jammers are good, a setting for making new friends and visiting with those already friends, with the bonus of good bluegrass. For now, during the winter months it is inside at the Vine Grove City Hall. They start at 6 p.m and go until everybody leaves. Everyone - all levels of pickers - are welcome, with a lot of encouragement, advice and help in getting those strings and fingers going in the same right direction. Folks seem to be coming from quite a way to join in. Places like Cave City, Louisville, Indiana and occasional visitors from even farther.

New Year Grass

Start the bluegrass New Year at Shepherdsville on the 4th with Kings Highway. January 11, Sassafras. Jan 18, Kentucky Blue. January 25, The Daily & Vincent Band. February 1, Larry Sparks.

Well, I hope I'm not forgetting something I wanted to include. At any rate, start this year in a good way and keep it that way. You'll feel a lot better at the other end of it. Keep in touch with Sunday Bluegrass each Sunday night from 8 until 11. In six months we will reach the 19-year mark. Remember, you can find it at WFPK 91.9 FM or go to WFPK.org and click on "listen live" to go the computer route. HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone. And keep it that way.

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