Brenda reviews Kathy Kallick & Friends and Dodi Kallick

Aug 11, 2022 | Brenda and the Reviews

Kathy Kallick & Friends and Dodi Kallick: What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?

Song List: Put My Little Shoes Away, Sittin’ On Top of the World, Little Moses, Jimmy Brown the Newsboy, Footprints in the Snow, The Wild Side of Life/It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels, Handsome Molly, Farther Along, What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?

Dodi Kallick Song List:  What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?  I’m a Long Time Traveling, Cotton-Eyed Joe, One Hundred Miles, Row Us Over the Tide, Red Clay Country, Down in the Willow Garden, My Home’s Across the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Parting Glass.

Kathy Kallick has been one of the leading performers in Bay Area bluegrass, and this release is her 22nd album.  Her original songs have tugged at listeners’ sensibilities and heartstrings, and few can match her ability to turn a gentle phrase into a heartfelt moment that transcends time.  Kathy grew up with the folk music scene in Chicago with a talented mother who passed on a love of song and an ability to inspire others to make their own music.  Kathy has been a part of this sharing process, and this collection of songs performed with friends and family showcase some of the traditional songs that need to be remembered, revised and passed on to the next generation of musicians.

Twenty years ago, Kathy released an album of songs that she learned from her mother, and this set features more songs and a recording of Dodi’s radio performances in the sixties is included.  Dodi has a straightforward delivery with only a dulcimer or guitar accompaniment.  “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “One Hundred Miles” are familiar songs, and “My Home’s Across the Blue Ridge Mountains” is performed with members of the audience at a Frank Proffitt memorial concert.

The “& Friends” part of the album title is especially poignant as Kathy has been a bridge between many musicians.  The Good Ol’ Persons was a pioneering band (started in 1975!) with a female presence, and Kathy’s own role as a bandleader and songwriter has helped define West Coast bluegrass.  While Dodi’s performances were mostly solo, Kathy has embraced the talents of others to give depth and dimension to the classic songs.  Jim Hurst’s wonderful guitar playing and harmonies give new life to “Jimmy Brown the Newsboy,” and Cliff Perry and Laurel Bliss give a Carter Family vibe to the gospel song “Little Moses.”  Molly Tuttle’s signature clawhammer style guitar and vocal harmonies add a modern touch to the sad “Put My Little Shoes Away,” and Tristan Scroggins adds a bluesy mandolin to “Sitting on Top of the World.”

Kathy’s current bluegrass band joins her and her two daughters, Juniper Waller and Riley Thompson, in an all-encompassing rendition of “Wild Side of Life/It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.”  Kathy joined voices with Laurie Lewis and Suzy Thompson in the glorious gospel song “What Are They Doing in Heaven Today,” and the fact that it was their first session after the Covid lockdown reminds us that our past flows into our present time, but we must also make our present time make inroads into our future.  Kathy Kallick has given us the bridge between past, present, and future with a nod to her mother, her friends and fellow musicians, and the younger performers that will be our future (interesting that Molly, Tristan, Annie Staninec, Riley, and Juniper are all children of musicians and are carrying their family traditions as well).