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 (and had three additional songs on a compilation), toured throughout the US (including Bill Monroe's Beanblossom Festival) and Europe, and had a profound influence on several generations of bluegrassers.
GOOD OL' PERSONS DISCOGRAPHY:
Good Ol' Persons (Bay/1977)
I Can't Stand To Ramble (Kaleidoscope->Flat Rock/1983)
Part Of A Story (Kaleidoscope->Flat Rock/1986)
Anywhere the Wind Blows (Kaleidoscope->Flat Rock/1989)
The Bluegrass Suspects (Kaleidoscope/1990 – out of print)
Good N' Live (Sugar Hill/1995)
GOOD OL' PERSONS REUNION
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.
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.
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, and performed/recorded with everyone from Jerry Garcia to Mary Chapin-Carpenter to the Nashville Bluegrass Band to Leftover Salmon.
After playing for many years with Lost Highway, Paul Shelasky (fiddle, vocals) is currently a member of two outstanding Bay Area bands, Blue & Lonesome and The David Thom Band, and rumored to be releasing his second album of fiddle tunes.
Bethany Raine (acoustic bass, vocals) has played a wide variety of music while raising three children and living in Texas and Louisiana. She was in the GOP for reunion shows at the 2015 Fathers Day Festival (Grass Valley, CA).
Trisha Gagnon (acoustic bass, vocals), an honorary Good Ol' Person for band reunions in Canada, has played in John Reischman & the Jaybirds since its inception, was previously a member of the award-winning Canadian band Tumbleweed, and won the 2011 World Jam Championship in Scotland.
Annie Staninec (fiddle), another honorary Good Ol' Person, has performed and recorded with the Kathy Kallick Band since 2008. She recently released her first solo album and instruction book, was named IBMA's 2015 Momentum Award Winner as Instrumentalist Of the Year, and is also a member of the Rod Stewart Band. Annie grew up listening to the Kaleidoscope records, and enjoys the Three Stooges as much as Paul and John.