Kathy Kallick has been a stalwart of the west coast bluegrass scene for more than three decades, so much so that while still actively performing she is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievment Award from the California Bluegrass Association. For 20 of those years she toiled as amember of The Good Ol’ Persons, an all-female band that also included Laurie Lewis on fiddle.
These days she tours with her own group, The Kathy Kallick Band, and their most recent CD, Between the Hollow and the High Rise, was released in May of 2010. It’s a nice mix of her songs, lesser-known bluegrass gems, and instrumentals/songs from her bandmates. Kathy plays guitar and sings lead with Tom Bekeny on mandolin, Dan Booth on bass, Breg Booth on banjo and resonator guitar, and Annie Staninec on fiddle.
The album title makes reference to the down home, rural roots of bluegrass music and the urban upbringing that Kallick and her gang experienced. Where Is My Little Cabin Home, the opening track from whence the title came, covers that theme nicely and shows the dexterity and expressiveness of her voice. Notice how she channels Bill Monroe on the word “me” at the of the second verse.
Where Is My Little Cabin Home: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/where_is_my_cabin.mp3]
They also do a fine job of quartet singing on the Louvin Brothers classic, There’s A Higher Power, for which Kathy has written several new verses.
There’s A Higher Power: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/higher_power.mp3]
Bass man Dan Booth takes the lead on one of Carter Stanley’s more poignant ballads, which calls for just the sort of plaintive vocal he delivers.
Kallick is in fine voice throughout, more than ably assisted by her first rate band. Special kudos to Greg Booth, whose reso version of Panhandle Rag is stellar, and Annie Staninec, who is brilliant on fiddle throughout. Six of the fourteen tracks are Kallick originals, and all are strong, save a sophomoric reworking of White House Blues. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time.
Between the Hollow and the High Rise is a fabulous recording, one that will bring pleasure to anyone who enjoys good songs, and quality picking and singing.