Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Cherryholmes, Newest Kentucky Colonels, Chase Away Post-Holiday Blues

Category: Review

There's nothing like bluegrass music to drive away the holiday blahs. The Cherryholmes family brought their traditional bluegrass to the Shepherdsville, Kentucky Country Music Place on December 28 and provided a late Christmas present.

Watching Cherryholmes perform live is almost like attending a "figure 8" stock car race: with the dancing and moving around one another to reach one of three microphone to take a solo or chime in harmony, one is just waiting for someone to bump into another. No accidents occur, however, which is probably the result of many years of practice around the house.

Jere Cherryholmes, his wife Sandy, and four children have matured considerably since they first played at the Shepherdsville Country Music Place in 2003. This i
s no longer a "novelty" act with the "cute kids" playing music. The children are growing up (especially Molly Kate, who has developed a beautiful, delicate voice) and have moved from "child prodigies" to simply "great musicians." People can no longer just classify this as a family playing bluegrass. They are a bona fide, superb bluegrass band that happens to be a family unit. Their IBMA awards (2005's Entertainers of the Year) and Grammy nominations (including a new nomination for their most recent release, Black and White) proclaim their greatness as an act.

Another bright accolade for the band is their strong songwriting skills. They have moved from performing covers (as many bluegrass bands do on initial releases) to an album where most of the material was written by members in the band. "My True Love," which Sandy wrote (Jere said he couldn't understand his wife writing a song like this and not mentioning him, to which she replied, "I couldn't find any words that rhymed with 'bald' and 'gray beard'!"), is particularly enjoyable.

The twin fiddles of Molly Kate and B.J. (who, according to Jere, now wants to be known as "Esteban" or "Mr. X") are still the highlight of the show. Many bluegrass bands perform "Orange Blossom Special," but not with two fiddlers. It was an absolute show-stopper. An a cappella version of "Oh Mary Don't You Weep" was also outstanding, and Molly Kate's rendition of "Sweet Hour of Prayer" was positively spine-tingling.

With all the musical presents Cherryholmes handed out, they also received a belated holiday present: all six members were made members of the Order of Kentucky Colonels. Molly Kate is the youngest songwriter in BMI history, and she now also stands as the youngest Kentucky Colonel in the history of that organization.

Members of Cherryholmes receiving their certificates
as Kentucky Colonels during show intermission

Jere Cherryholmes thanked the capacity crowd (a major improvement from their first performance in Shepherdsville, when fewer than 50 people showed up) for supporting "Jere's kids." With the outstanding music and energy this group gives, there is no reason to not support them, now and for years to come.

Kentucky Colonels website
Cherryholmes Family website


Sam said...

I could not agree more with this review. This band has come a long way since I first saw them in Shepherdsville. Their music is uplifting and they are a joy to watch and listen to. If you like bluegrass and have not heard them do yourself a favor and get one of their CDs, you will not be disappointed.

Matt said...

How old was Molly Kate? I became a Kentucky Colonel when I was 2 years old...