Until April of 1999, the dynamic family band known as Cherryholmes did not exist, and half of its youthful members hadn't even picked up an instrument. In five short years, this high-energy Nashville-based band was named 2005 IBMA's Entertainers of the Year.
"They (Cherryholmes) have a real interesting story. They are all family and are very tight knit, their last name is Cherryholmes. They started playing as a family group in 1999 after a family tragedy. In order to bring the family together, the father, Jere, took the family to a blue grass festival and had so many supportive people and were taken in by it," Carl Daehler, director of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts said.
The story goes, on the way back from the festival, Jere had the idea that each family member would learn an instrument and everyone agreed.
"After about four years, everyone jumped into it. Each of them are extremely talented and write their own material, and they sing," Daehler noted.
He also said the group sounds like Nickel Creek or Tim O'Brian and Allison Krauss.
In 2005, the group won the Bluegrass Association Entertainer of the Year award.
Ricky Skaggs was so taken by them he signed them to his music label.
"He has a real knack for finding these really talented, downhome groups," Daehler said.
The group just returned from England where they returned from a Celtic Festival, where they received rave reviews.
All six band members take turns singing lead and showcasing their abilities. Their live shows include twin fiddles, Irish step dancing, classic country yodeling and old-time claw hammer, in addition to their dynamic bluegrass.
"When Ricky Skaggs was here last year, he mentioned this band and he had signed them. I did not think much of it at the time, but I notated it. The group had not released their first CD then. When we were putting our season together around January, Columbia Artist Management mentioned they had just signed a new group they thought would be appealing because they know the groups we have had in the past and it turned out it was Cherryholmes," Daehler said.
The group is now booked nationally through one of the largest talent agencies in the country.
"This is their first appearance in the area. I think it will be one people will want to have them come back," Daehler said.
Since they were booked to play at the VRCFA, they have released their third record; Cherryhomes II Black and White, which is the first record they have released on the Skaggs Family Record Label.
They are now working on a third record. They tour over 300 days a year.
Cherryholmes have also become regular performers on the historic Grand Ole Opry.
"People say bluegrass music has to change or evolve or it will die. Well, if you change something from one thing to another, it isn't alive anyway. I don't really think it needs to be changed. It just needs new life breathed into it. I feel like maybe I'm offering that with my family," the band leader, Jere, said.
The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are still available at ticketmaster.com or by calling the McKinley Box Office at 351-3600.