The CD’s title is a line from Kathy Kallick’s song, “Where Is My Little Cabin Home.” Kathy comments, “Many people have come to bluegrass in a round-about way, without growing up with it. The ideals and sentiments of the music -- the keening, modal tones and intervals, the conversation between strings and voices, the plainly-told stories -- have drawn in a variety of people from many cultures and backgrounds. Those of us in this band are not from shiny glass downtown towers or the piney woods, but from somewhere in between.”
In Appalachia a hollow is called a “hollar.” In the deepest hollows, the sun doesn't touch the bottom until midmorning, and by late afternoon a smoky shadow covers the area as it starts to get dark. Folks from the hollow have true mountain character built from living in this isolation. In the modern world, “high-rise” evokes concrete jungles whose darkness is the result of tall buildings built close together. The development of folks from the “high-rise” is affected by over-crowding, cacophony, and fast-paced lives.
Between the Hollow & the High-Rise is rooted in traditional bluegrass while encompassing contemporary concerns. The CD gives the listener a place to alternately relax and foot stomp, be uplifted, challenged, amused, and transported by songs that blend sweet harmonies, thoughtful lyrics, and kick-ass instrumentals.
The album includes six Kathy Kallick (guitar, vocals) compositions and her additional lyrics to three bluegrass classics, as well as stellar contributions from all the band members: Tom Bekeny (mandolin, vocals), Dan Booth (acoustic bass, vocals), Greg Booth (dobro, banjo, vocals), and Annie Staninec (fiddle, vocals). These exciting and experienced musicians have inspired Kathy to make some of the most powerful music in her distinguished 35-year career, which includes a Grammy and two IBMA Awards, the California Bluegrass Association’s Lifetime Membership Award, chart-topping songs, and 15 albums, which include over 100 of her original songs.
"A profound songwriter and expressive singer, Kathy Kallick is a mountain gal at heart. Her singing has always been earthy and passionate. As a songwriter, she knows how to pen beautiful impressionistic pieces with memorable contemporary messages.” - Joe Ross, BLUEGRASS NOW
Kathy Kallick's notes on the songs, tunes, and band members ...
Where Is My Little Cabin Home?
A song that harkens back to a bluegrass ideal (the “little cabin home on the hill”) that symbolizes stability, family, and love. Conjuring this image in today’s world of housing shortages, re-financing woes, and homelessness is ironic and wistful.
Whistle Stop Town
A cinematic story-telling song. Though it’s played on bluegrass instruments, it’s more folk/pop/Americana in its melodic structure, harmony arrangement, and groove. You can almost hear the “stadium drums” in the background!
There’s A Higher Power
A classic country/bluegrass gospel song, originating with the Louvin Brothers and recorded by the Marshall Family, who — especially with Judy Marshall's gorgeous singing — provide one of the most spiritually uplifting experiences in life. I tweaked the lyrics, making the song all-inclusive, and I love to remember, in the darkest of times, that there is a grand design, and it's not all up to little ol' us!
In the humorous tradition of Roger Miller, Buck Owens, and Jimmy Martin, a wry autobiographical homage to my home.
Learned from the playing of pedal steel guitar master Leon McAuliffe with the Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys, and adapted to dobro and bluegrass by Alaskan Greg Booth — with swinging support from the rest of the band. This one has made Greg (also known as ‘aksliderdobro’) a star on YouTube.
A classic from Carter Stanley, led here (complete with the often-forgotten last verse) by Lonesome Dan Booth. The first time I sang with this guy, I knew I wanted to be along for the ride when the rest of the world gets to hear his beautiful voice. And his bass playing lays down a rock solid groove you could build a house on!
Like “Cabin Home,” this grew out of pondering another bluegrass standard, one that was always a favorite in my family, and sung by my mom from time to time. I wrote a prequel to that classic, intrigued by the song’s mystery, but not wanting to de-mystify it.
White House Blues
Peter T. put in his two-cents worth as we had fun re-writing this backward glance at difficult times. And now we've got a few more years to process that last election and its fallout. And, hey, it’s fun to burn in the grand traditions of Charlie Poole, Earl Taylor, Bill Monroe, and Del McCoury.
Girl Next Door
Inspired by some old-fashioned folk songs, this is a romantic ode to enduring love.
Come Walk With Me
Written by “Uncle” Josh Graves, first heard (by me) by Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper and (by Tom Bekeny, who leads the singing) by Buck White and his daughters. We merged the versions and it came out a little different still. That's traditional music! Tom's mandolin playing throughout the album encompasses all the best and most beautiful elements of bluegrass. Bluesy, scorching, fluid, percussive, cross-picking, split string, elegant and eloquent, he does it all.
A sprightly original written by Greg Booth, who sez, "I heard Rob Ickes play his tune ‘Monrobro’ and loved it. After trying to play it for a while, I gave up and made up my own. So easy a caveman can play it!" Throughout the album, Greg flat out nails it -- right in tune and in time, with plenty of good taste and tone — on both dobro and banjo.
(Get Along Home) Cindy
An old time scorcher with a few new lyrics; Dan’s diesel Rabbit does, in fact, have a knack for running out of gas. Here and elsewhere, Annie Staninec plays the fiddle with authority waaaay beyond her years. Is she the long lost spawn of Benny Martin and Curly Ray Cline – with Scotty Stoneman for an uncle? Whatever -- she manages to be inventive and traditional, always in the same breath, with sweet, soulful back-up (memorable little tunes of their own) and truly breathtaking solos.
I wrote this some 25 years ago in the style of an old British Isles ballad with somewhat arcane language. Greg, Dan, and Annie were familiar with it from the Good Ol’ Persons recording, and wanted to revisit the song. And now it has some new meanings.
Tom takes a step away from his bluegrass-styled instrumentals into a Celtic realm for an original tune to put a gentle coda on a CD being released in the … spring.