Wilene "Sally Ann" Forrester

(accordion - 1943-3/1946)
Publicity photo circa 1944. Click for full version.

Born: 12/20/1922    Died: 11/17/1999

As a Blue Grass Boy: Wilene "Billie" Forrester, nicknamed "Sally Ann" by Bill Monroe, was the first woman to play with the Blue Grass Boys and the only accordion player. She toured with Monroe for several years during World War II. She appears on eight tracks recorded in February 1945, singing tenor harmony on two songs; this makes her one of very few people to ever sing tenor to Bill Monroe.

Recording Sessions: 2/13/1945

Before and After: After leaving the band, Forrester performed for several years with a band including her husband Howdy and brother-in-law Joe Forrester, as well as with Rambling Tommy Scott. She retired from performing in the early 1950s.

Further Reading: Murphy Henry's extensive essay, "Come Prepared to Stay, Bring Fiddle" is the definitive work on Forrester. It can be found in the Country Music Annual 2001 edited by Charles K. Wolfe.