Category: Concert review
Part of the beauty of bluegrass music is the close connection and interaction between fans and bands. That connection enabled the Cherryholmes family to earn an ovation for their sound check, which they conducted in front of the early-arriving crowd at the Shepherdsville Country Music Place on New Year's Day evening. The lucky early comers, about half of the capacity crowd who would fill the house at show's beginning, appreciated the bonus music. The band most likely appreciated the size of the audience watching them tune up, given that their first appearance in Shepherdsville was before fewer than fifty people.
Cherryholmes opened the show with a beautiful a cappella rendition of the National Anthem before launching into the first half of the show. The highlights included a brand new song they premiered for the loyal Kentucky fans, a bluesy gospel number called "Changed in a Moment" featuring mom Sandy on lead vocal, and a smoking version of "Brand New Heartache."
The influence of jazz on bluegrass has only been mentioned comically, in the late Randall Hylton's song "The Mother of Bluegrass." In this show, Cia mentioned Django Reinhardt, probably the first time the jazz master has ever been referenced at a bluegrass show. The children did two jazz numbers, one vocal and one instrumental, to close out the first half of the show.
Cherryholmes returned after the intermission with a list of requests, and they fulfilled them all. At one point regional bluegrass star Tommy Brown joined the band onstage for a superb version of "Room at the Top of the Stairs." After the intermission requests were filled, Jere asked the audience if there were more songs. People called for "Red Satin Dress" and "He Goes to Church" (which they did), and, of course, the obligatory cry of "Free Bird." After stunning renditions of "No One to Sing for Me" and "When He Reached Down His Hand for Me," the band finished off with a smoking encore of "Orange Blossom Special."
Cherryholmes will return to Shepherdsville in late February for friend Tommy Brown's mid-winter festival. The fans who walked away with smiles on their faces after the family's mesmerizing performance on New Year's day are counting the moments until that next appearance.