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September 2009 Articles
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Jason Ashcraft
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Issue: September 2009
Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

September, the last hoo-rah at summer's end, school daze, beginning of fall daze and the routine haze we all "enjoy" at times. I love spring, summer and fall, so winter comes to make us appreciate these seasons more and much better. Then, again, the way this last summer has been rather unusual in places don't know what's next. To help the transitions there are some very good fall festivals around. Go there.

Milan Bluegrass

I was in Michigan at the Milan Bluegrass Festival the middle of last month. Really glad I made the trip, for the first time in about five years. I went with my very longtime good friend of Old Homestead Records, Mr. John Morris, and his most charming wife Norma. It was a real treat, and uplifting experience to attend the festival, being one of the two I emceed in Michigan for quite a few years. It was a real booster shot to see so many folks up there and have so many come to me to express how much they had missed my being there and, for my part,  remembering me. I assisted John in his record booth during the festival. Great experience, wonderful fans and folks.

True Legend

As if such as that weren't enough, on my last day before returning to the Bluegrass, John and I ventured up to Flint, Michigan, and shared a couple of hours with a true legend of the music. It was a joyful, privileged and humbling visit with Wade and Julia Mainer. Wade, at 102, and Julia, a wonderful lady. To anticipate a couple of questions you probably have, they still live at home, Wade is clear, sharp and still exhibits a great sense of humor. He gets around as well as could be expected. (Wade and Julia, a heartfelt thanks to you, a model couple of great Christian faith.) They are a blessing to all who know them, all they meet and others who only know of them. Either of the two bits above certainly made the trip worth while and, together, a highlight of the year.

Passing of Hometown Entertainer

This past month brought the passing of another country entertainer who I knew back in the '50s. The name may not be familiar to many of you, but Bill and Mary Reid were a very popular local group in the area of my home, Lynchburg, Virginia. They had a TV show on our local station WLVA. They played out around the area and, if I remember right, I believe they played for "round and square" dances at times. They also did some recordings on the Columbia label. They split up at some point and Bill moved to the Roanoke area and for some time was a disc jockey there. A very good band, very good performers and show folks. I had not seen Bill for way too many years, but still sorry to learn of his passing.


The various jams seem to be continuing full speed ahead. The Vine Grove jam is planning to move indoors, to Vine Grove city hall building, October 2. That's the first Friday following the Vine Grove Bluegrass Festival, speaking of which will be September 24-26 at the Vine Grove Optimist Park. Starting about 6 p.m. Thurs., with free picnic, Vine Grove Band Scramble, Valley View Quartet, Testify, Tommy Brown & County Line Grass, Ronnie Murphy & his true harmonica. Friday, starting about 5 p.m., Vine Grove Express, Charlie Sizemore Band, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper AND Rhonda Vincent & The Rage. Saturday about noon, Vine Grove Jammers, Hazel Holler, Tommy Brown & County Line Grass, Boys From Kentucky, Big Country Bluegrass AND Dailey & Vincent. How 'bout that, folks?

And More

Guess I should have had these the other way around, but here we go: J.D. Crowe Bluegrass Festival, September 3-5, Ichthus Farm, Wilmore, Ky.: Friday/Saturday, J.D.Crowe & New South; Saturday, Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top X-Press, also Eddie Pennington, Saturday On Friday, The Grascals; Thursday/Saturday, The Moron Bros; and Thur/Sat Dean Osborne Band. Thursday, Free Jam Session hosted by the Moron Bros. Friday, KSBTM Ensemble, Ruby & ‘Em and more. Saturday, Acoustic Student Presentations through the day. This is 20 minutes South of Lexington, Ky., at 9520 Harrodsburg Road in Wilmore, Ky.

Don't Forget

Let's not forget the grand Ole Belle. Sunday bluegrass lunch cruises on the Belle of Louisville continue through September. Lunch cruises reservations should be made in advance. Bands on board for September are: September 6, Steve & Mike of Hog Operation. September13, BluZenGrass. September 20, Kentucky Blue. September 27, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys. October 4 will bring back Steve & Mike. Boarding starts at 1:30p.m., cruise at 2, and back by 4. Come and enjoy a real great family event on a Sunday afternoon. P.S. you can bring your own "picnic" if you choose.

Finally for this part, here is something "just in." I was contacted while sitting here at the old 'puter, putting all of this together. I got a call telling me about an upcoming event and I said "email to me now and I can include it." So here it is: Bluegrass Jammin' and Campin' in the Valley, September 11 and 12. Free bean dinner on Friday, and a pitch-in dinner on Saturday. Admission $5. Camping in the rough $5. Camping with electricity $10. For more information, contact Dennis Howell @ 812-836-2311 or 812-686-3812, www/cedarvalleybluegrass.com.

And that, my friends, means it's time to wind it up. Hope I didn't go over. You know where to tune to each Sunday night at 8 p.m., WFPK 91.9 FM.

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