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August 2009 Articles
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Issue: August 2009
Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant


The last weekend of June was ROMP weekend at Owensboro. It was a great time for me in spite of heat, heat, heat. Whew, I drank so much water and Gator A I was about to reach a point when I would have to hold my breath to keep from drowning.

All of that was compensated for by friends I saw and met, old and new.

The legends' gathering is really one of my favorite parts of ROMP. It is a very important part of keeping the tradition and roots of "our" music alive, and what it was and is intended to be. The stories of beginnings, and struggles to spread the music that tells the stories of the people, come from the legends or pioneers and must be preserved for all, and never discarded. It is the music of the people and the land. It is a great feeling and privilege to actually know and call friend many of these people.

As always, it was a special time for me to visit with good friend Ronnie Reno. I have known Ronnie since he was about eleven years old and just starting to play mandolin with his dad, Don Reno, on the Reno and Smiley show back in Virginia.

Another special friend I had not seen for several years is a young lady I first met at the festival in Charlotte, Mich.. I was standing under the tent and got a little nudge from the side and heard "It's Pam." Pam Gadd was the banjo player with the New Coon Creek Girls who I first met in Charlotte. She has a new CD and is, for my part, a good singer and picker. I always enjoy seeing Pam, and I am playing her music.

One other old friend there, a man who was put into the Museum's Hall of Fame, was Bill Clifton. I have known Bill since my country DJ days back in the '50s. Bill lives near the Carters (Carter Fold) and knew them well. Another treat for me. Congratulations on joining the Hall of Fame(ers), Bill. You deserve it.

The Mainers

On the 8th of July I had a talk with Wade Mainer. Gave him a call, he was out in his yard tending to some rose bushes, watching over his garden (which is getting a slow start) and sorting and going through his garage, attempting to get stuff together for a garage sale. I sure would like to be there to see and get some of the things he mentioned. Wade and Julia both are feeling and doing pretty good. GOD bless you, my friends, as He already has.

Last Year?

I had heard a rumor that this might be the last year for the Fall Homecoming at The Museum of Appalachia. A phone call on July 8 put that to rest. It has cropped up before and is a case of something everybody "knows" except the folks at the museum. Who (and why) starts these things anyhow. Barnyard top soil all the way.

Vine Grove Jammers

The jammers at Vine Grove every Monday night give heaping reasons to be proud. They respond to many requests when called upon.

What I have in mind now are the jammers who agreed to play at a family night for the church I attend (Stithton Baptist in Radcliff), last month. Bluegrass & Watermelon in the church parking lot. Jammers who could make it have also come in for Troop Appreciation Day there when basic trainee units from Ft. Knox were invited in for an afternoon to relax, play various games, use cell phones and be entertained. A great break for the guys. As I have said before, another way to introduce bluegrass to folks by showing them just what kind of people bluegrass people really are.

Cruisin' Bluegrass

The bluegrass cruises on the Belle of Louisville have been going well. Very well. If you haven't been yet you should make a cruise before the season is over. As I know it now, the bluegrass cruises will continue into October. Acts for this month will be BlueZenGrass on the 9th, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys the 16th, Kentucky Blue the 23rd, and the BlueZenGrass will be back.on the 30th. Sept. 6th it will be Hog Operation.

If you plan to go the lunch/buffet way, call ahead for reservations. Call 502-574-2992 or 1-888-832-0011. Make it a special summer Sunday afternoon. If you like, you can bring your own picnic lunch, but no drinks.

Who's Pickin' Where

In keeping with the space-saving request, guess we'd better get to the "who's pickin' and where" department. How about a jam list:

• Ray's Monkey House Coffeeshop, 1578 Bardstown Road, every Tues., 8 p.m. until midnight.

• Colesburg Baptist Church, Friday nights, 6:30 till.

• Hillview City Hall: Thurs. night, 6 p.m.

• Shepherdsville: Tuesday evening

• Music In The Park (by Salt River), 6 p.m. until dark.

• Iroquois American Legion Post 229:Tuesday 610 p.m.

• Zeppelin Café, 1036 Burnett, Thursday night, 6:30p.m.


• Milan Bluegrass Festival, Milan, Mich.: Aug. 13-15. Rhonda Vincent, Dailey & Vincent, J.D. Crowe. Larry Stephenson, The Grascals, IIIrd Tyme Out, to name a few.

• Bluegrass 101 Festival, Bullitt County Fairgrounds: Aug. 28 & 29. Bluegrass 101, Whistlen Rufus, Kings Highway and Men of the Week Fri.& Sat. 101, Paul Williams, Men of the Week, Tommy Brown and Gene Thompson.

OK my friends, y'all have fun AND keep that radio on WFPK 91.9 for Sunday Bluegrass each Sun., 8-11 p.m., and check out Michael Young right before me, from 5-8 p.m. Keep in touch. And if you can't come, write.

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