Ruby Jewel Jamboree presents The Kathy Kallick Band Tour

Updated: Nov 30, 2019

Kathy Kallick Band

Ruby Jewel Jamboree kicks off it’s 2014 season with the Kathy Kallick Band Tour.

Kathy Kallick has been making bluegrass music for 40 years, since 1975. In what was then a male predomination, with the likes of David Grisman, Bill Monroe, Tony Rice, and Ricky Skaggs it is a wonder a woman could get a lick in edgewise. Yet that year, Kathy along with four other woman cofounded a band that would play together for 20 years; The Good Ol’ Persons consisted of Kathy Kallick, Sue Shelasky, Barbara Mendelsohn, Dorothy Baxter, and Laurie Lewis. Laurie Lewis and Kathy, both living in the Bay Area, still collaborate.

As a young woman, Kathy set her sights on the San Francisco Art Institute to study painting; choosing to leave her native Chicago for concern that the folk scene might be too distracting. Her parents listened to a lot of the 1960’s folk music when she was growing up. Naturally, she sought out the genre in the Bay Area, but instead was led astray by a much more vital and available bluegrass scene. She was drawn to the “drive and the groove, and the conversation that happens between musicians; how collaborative and interactive it is.” It is, and always has been the singing and soulful harmonies that engaged her interest. She says of those first days in Art school that bluegrass grabbed hold of her and continues to tighten its grip.

It was difficult being an all-girl band in the days of so many successful male bands. But the general vibe of that particular period; the Viet Nam war just ending, women’s lib in full throttle, and a general unrest in the populace due to the antics of President Nixon fueled many a rebel. The Bay Area in general, but notably the men there, (much like we find it in Missoula with its accepting attitude of ‘follow your bliss, and we will support you ‘cuz it makes you happy, no matter how far out you are’) welcomed and supported the smattering of women who dared stand up on a stage troubadour style, or be in all-girl bands. Some of the trailblazers of the time: Ingrid Fowler, Markie Sanders, Susie McKee, and Laurie Lewis. It was when the original Good Ol’ Persons would venture out to the eastern states they found resistance to women moving into the bluegrass genre.

They never pushed too hard where they weren’t welcome, but the music they were laying down was too good to be ignored. Soon they found themselves jamming with bands like Hot Rize, Nashville Bluegrass Band, and Bill Monroe who invited them to