Cherryholmes III: Don’t Believe
Skaggs Family Records
4 stars (out of 5)
If you’re a bluegrass music fan, you’re probably familiar with the Cherryholmes story. Patriarch Jere decided the family would take to the road as a full-time bluegrass band before they knew how to play intstruments.
In a few short years, the six-member family band went from a cute sideshow in the halls of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass week to the organization’s entertainers of the year, an excellent example of contemporary bluegrass with plenty of crossover appeal.
The main element in the band’s appeal is older daughter Cia, as striking in voice as she is in appearance. Her voice and her strong banjo kick off the disc with “I Can Only Love You (So Much)” and on the hard, focused track “Don’t Believe.”
Cia handles slower material with equal ease on “This is My Son,” a heart-tugging song that likens sending a son to war to Christ’s sacrifice, and on the lushly arranged “Broken,” which features octave violin, mandola and cello.
Not too be outdone, younger sister Molly shows she might be even more engaging a vocalist than Cia on the bouncy “Goodbye.”
The boys get into the act as well, with older brother B.J. turning in two fine instrumental compositions (“Sumatra” on mandolin and “Mansker Spree/O’Coughlin’s Reel” on fiddle), and strong vocals on “Bleeding,” a version of “Devil in Disguise” that would do the Bluegrass Album Band proud and the album-closing duet with Cia, “Traveler.”
Younger brother Skip turns in a nice lead vocal on the lovelorn “My Love for You Grows,” and mom Sandy brings her Celtic-flavored voice to “The King as a Babe Comes Down” and “The Sailing Man,” on which she plays clawhammer banjo.
With so much vocal variety and an unending instrumental energy, Don’t Believe that you’ll get tired of this album anytime soon.
by Aaron Keith Harris