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The Old Pals

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The Old Pals is a California-based Bluegrass band bonded by decades-long friendships and a mutual love of traditional Bluegrass and country music. The band members enjoy the camaraderie of playing together whenever schedules permit, and most of the Pals have known each other since the early days of Bluegrass in California.

Craig Wilson (guitar and vocals) and Larry Cohea (banjo), a Springfield, TN native, met as teenagers while living in Bakersfield, CA. They were immersed in the heyday of the Bakersfield Sound and brought their Bluegrass styling to several of the local live TV programs on air at the time, sharing the stage with artists such as Joe and Roselee Maphis, Bonnie Owens and Merle Haggard, among others.

While living in San Francisco in 1968, Craig met Butch Waller (mandolin) when Butch was a founding member of one of California’s seminal traditional Bluegrass bands, High Country. Butch is a highly-acclaimed mandolinist in the Monroe tradition and has composed a myriad of songs through the years. Larry also became a member of High Country in the early 1970s, and the band has not only toured extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad but continues to perform and recently celebrated their 50th year in the business.

Paul Shelasky (fiddle) emerged on the Northern California Bluegrass scene in the 1970s and has played in bands including The Good Old Persons, Lost Highway and Blue and Lonesome, as well as performing for a number of years at Disneyland. Paul is also an accomplished old time and swing fiddler and adds a dose of comedy to the band’s repertoire.

Matt Dudman (bass) is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist on guitar and mandolin as well as bass, and performs with the Pleasant Valley Boys as well as with Jenny Lynn and The Real Gone Daddies. Matt operates his own sound and recording studio, Pleasant Valley Music in Dixon, CA.

Each member of The Old Pals has been active as “movers and shakers” in the Bluegrass community for many years. Butch, Larry and Paul have been recognized for their contributions and achievements by the California Bluegrass Association with Life member status awards.           

But The Old Pals don’t just rest on their laurels, they bring an old-school, energetic, paint-peeling, and soulful brand of Bluegrass picking and singing that is sure to captivate and have you tappin’ your toes!

Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Children under 12 are free. Advance tickets are available at the link below, or you may purchase your tickets at the door the night of the show. Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept cash only at the door (ATMs are nearby). 

The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee. If you need more information or have any questions, please call us: #510-654-3808. Thank you for your support!