A Family Band to Be Reckoned With

Cherryholmes (Skaggs Family Records)


By Bob Mitchell

My first exposure to Cherryholmes was the 2004 IBMA annual showcase brunch and they were very impressive. Since then, one of the most energetic and talented family bands has continued to improve beyond a point where one would assume they can't get any better. At the 2005 IBMA award show, frontwoman Cia Cherryholmes was nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year and the family was nominated for Emerging Artists of the Year as well as for Entertainer of the Year (the latter of which they won).

This debut project for Skaggs Records is destined to be one of the best of 2005. If our local utility company could harness Cherryholmes' energy, there would be enough power to supply the city for an entire year. [It was difficult to get through the CD because I kept hitting the repeat button.] Cherryholmes is one of the most dynamic, hard-working bands in the business. There is not a wasted note or weak track; nine of the twelve songs are original.

Cia provides crisp, driving banjo and heartfelt vocals. I especially enjoyed "How Long," "Brand New Heartache," and "Heart As Cold As Stone." (She is also featured on another recent release, "Have a Cuppa [ban]Jo," a first-rate instrumental project produced by banjo-making and -playing wizard, Steve Huber.)

B.J. Cherryholmes contributes a solid mandolin, frisky fiddle and honest vocals, especially on "Working Man," and the high octane "Makin' Time." Molly Kate Cherryholmes supplies some of the finest fiddle work to be heard and her harmony vocals are consistently pleasant. You will be hearing a lot about this young girl in the years to come. "Skip" Cherryholmes furnishes steady tasteful guitar work and harmony vocals. Cherryholmes Mom Sandy Lee's mandolin, mandola and vocals are a driving force on each cut but no more so than "Will I Be The Winner," and her cover of Hazel Dickens' "Workin' Girl Blues." Father Jere, the band's foundation, adds his rock-solid acoustic bass and vocals. Ricky Skaggs joins the fun on a romping rendition of Bill Monroe's "Tallahassee."

Cherryholmes is a show-stopping band of extraordinary proportions. They have to be heard to be believed, so if you've never attended one of their shows, you owe to yourself to get a copy of this CD.

To get the goods, check out www.cherryholmes.net.