Shepherdsville Music Barn will reap a harvest of bluegrass shows
Louisville Courier Journal Article  8/23/2011

After a sweltering summer off, the toe-tapping sounds of bluegrass banjos and fiddles will once again fill the Shepherdsville Music Barn on Friday nights from October through April.

The 550-seat honky-tonk hall — also home to the Shepherdsville Country Music Show on Saturday nights — has been the site of many big names since Chester and Mary Reid opened it in 1977.

It’s just the second season of promoting bluegrass shows there for emcee Monroe Rice, who has been busy this summer booking a mix of local and national groups like The Grascals, The Punches Family and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.

“I hope to bring back some of the biggest acts in bluegrass music and make this a place where people can really enjoy themselves and the environment,” he said.

Rice initially wasn’t sure whether the venue would stay open after the death of owner Mary Reid, who he said “passed away from cancer the night of the last show last year, April 29.”

But Reid’s children decided to keep the venue open because they said they believe their parents would have wanted it that way.

“The Reids are a great family to work for,” Rice said. “They really like their music.”

Loretta Reid, one of Chester and Mary Reid’s children, said her parents always envisioned the venue as a place where families could come to have good, clean fun. Chester Reid died in 1985.

“My dad’s dad was an alcoholic, so he never wanted that stuff to be sold there,” Loretta Reid said, adding the only concessions sold continue to be hot dogs and sodas.

Attendance and the number of well-known musicians both declined considerably the last five years under a previous promoter, C.R. Wilson, who Reid said has struggled with diabetes and other health problems.

Rice, a retired police officer who lives in Jeffersontown, took over promotions last August and the crowds returned.

“We averaged about 150 to 200 people a night last year and even sold out some nights,” Rice said.

Rice said the 2011-12 bluegrass schedule is still taking shape. He recently talked with bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, who he said wants to return to the barn, likely in early 2012.

Jesse Green, 80, has lived in a house next to the venue for 30 years. He said he continues to enjoy the music there and helps clean up after each show.

“I’m the first one here and the last one to leave,” Green said.

            ©2011 Copyright Monroe Rice.  All Rights Reserved.