The great lady

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At the fathers day festival, walking through the fairgrounds, something important was missing.  Walking down the gravel road remembering good times and old friends, it saddened me to notice  that the spot where Pat and George Calhouns R.V. used to be, had an unfamiliar tenant.

At almost every festival I’ve attended for the last 15 years, it was one of my favorite destinations, a place where everybody wanted to be.
Pat has had some serious medical issues to deal with, and it this point is not able to play music as she has in the past. This is one of those great sadness’s of life.

I think I’ve had more fun playing music with Pat, than with anyone I’ve ever known…more pixie dust moments, more unbelievable jams, more soul stirring summer night memories. I was looking through some old columns I’ve written and I found one I wrote on her. She is in my heart, and I thought I’d reshare most of it with those of you who know her, and to tell those who don’t, about this wonderful woman.

Any one who has ever listened to Pat Calhoun realizes quickly that this is a special lady. One of those rare people who is at home in any style or form of music and with any musician that picks or sings. At three years of age she was playing piano, and by age twelve she was the Pianist for the Revival choir, where she was succeeded by Edward Hawkins, who you may remember as the as the band leader who had the a hit with the Gospel song  Oh Happy Day back in the early seventies. Pat is as high powered gospel piano player who traveled with the Harbor Lights Quartet back in her younger years and has played behind such luminaries as Dottie Rambo, and Vestal Goodman.

She married George and had four wonderful children and left the road to attend to the family, but music was never far away. She played and led the dance band known around the Napa area, as Southern Comfort for thirty years playing a great mix of musical styles from rock & roll, to swing, to country, to oldies, to anything else that would get them on their feet to dance, and about that time she discovered bluegrass festivals, and began to attend, though at the time, she didn’t play a single bluegrass instrument.

If you know her, you love her. There is always a jam around her camp site and she and her hospitable, and supportive husband George, make everyone, no matter at what level they are musically, welcome.  You never know what you’re gonna hear there. From fiddle tunes to swing, to great bluegrass to rollicking gospel. She does it all. Playing Driving Bass, a hot fiddle, or a powerful accordion, she will make the hair stand up on the back of your arms, and chills run up and down your spine,

She’s been a great ambassador for the C.B.A. working as our Vice president in the Napa region,  hosting slow jams for beginners, and hot weekly jams for the bluegrass faithful. She’s worked with kids on bluegrass (Woodland Festival) and with Ben Martin on the slow jam at grass valley. If you’ve walked through any festival up and down this coast, you‘ve probably seen her, and when you did, it ain’t likely you will ever forget her.

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