The Center for the Arts presents
“When it comes to bluegrass, it doesn’t get much better than this.” – Relix Magazine overview of the Good Ol’ Persons
The Good Ol’ Persons were formed in 1975 as a result of the success of five women performing at a Freight & Salvage open mic. The name filled a spur-of-the-moment need and provided a wry comment on the dominant bluegrass culture of the era. It didn’t take long for a band to form, for men to infiltrate — and for the music to become more important than a gimmicky name.
The Good Ol’ Persons were among the first bluegrass bands to feature the songwriting, lead playing, and vocal harmonies of women, and went on to be trendsetters in the incorporation of Latin, swing, folk, Cajun, and other musical genres into their bluegrass. The band released five albums, toured throughout the US (including Bill Monroe’s Beanblossom Festival) and Europe, and had a profound influence on several generations of bluegrassers.
“The core sound centered on Kathy’s strong, crystal-clear vocals; the front-and-center all-female trio (jokingly called the Personettes); and Kathy’s original songs. Bluegrass Unlimited acknowledged the impact of the band, saying, ‘Their quiet revolution brought acceptance to the idea that women could do more in the bluegrass world than play bass.’” – Murphy Hicks Henry, Pretty Good For A Girl: Women In Bluegrass (Univ. Of Illinois Press)
Expect performances that go far beyond nostalgia, as these musicians have continued to evolve; their music is filled with dazzling playing, passionate singing, inclusive humor, and some really good ol’ songs.
Since 1995, members of the band have continued to enjoy successful musical careers (as well as occasional GOP reunions). Kathy, Sally, and John are Grammy and IBMA award winners, Kathy, Paul, and John were awarded Lifetime Memberships by the California Bluegrass Association, and all are outstanding performers, composers, producers, bandleaders, and teachers.
• Kathy Kallick (guitar, vocals) leads The Kathy Kallick Band, has released numerous albums (always placing highly in the national bluegrass charts) filled with her extraordinary compositions (now approaching 150), and continues to tour widely.
• John Reischman (mandolin, vocals) also leads a band (The Jaybirds), has released numerous recordings featuring his remarkable tunes, and tours widely.
• Sally Van Meter (dobro, vocals) has been a member of the bands of Hillman & Pedersen, Led Kaapana, and Jorma Kaukonen, is a respected producer, and has performed with everyone from Jerry Garcia to Mary Chapin-Carpenter to NBB.
• Paul Shelasky (fiddle, vocals) played for many years with Lost Highway, is currently a member of two Bay Area bands, Blue & Lonesome and The David Thom Band, and is rumored to be releasing his second album of fiddle tunes.
• Bethany Raine (acoustic bass, vocals) has played a wide variety of music while living in Texas and Louisiana, and was in the GOP for reunion shows at the 2015 Fathers Day Festival (Grass Valley, CA).