Cherryholmes is the harmonizing, hard-pickin', bluegrass family band that was named Entertainer of the Year in 2005 by the International Bluegrass Music Association. In their latest release, Black and White, the six-member band moves through a richly constructed tapestry of songs built on effortlessly blended harmonies and masterful instrumentation. The album opens with "You Don't Know What Love Is," a kiss-off to a noncommittal lover featuring Cia Leigh, Cherryholmes' powerful lead vocalist, as well as skillful picking from the rest of the band. Other standouts include the driving bluegrass of "I Don't Know" and the album's title track, a mournful cautionary tale of redemption in the face of life without parole.
An honest-to-goodness family band, the talented Cherryholmes clan is made up of husband Jere (upright bass), wife Sandy Lee (mandolin) and their four children: Cia Leigh (vocals, banjo), B.J. (vocals, fiddle), Skip (guitar, vocals) and Molly Kate (fiddle, vocals). The group's 2006 self-titled release garnered a Grammy nomination for best bluegrass album of the year—a high honor for a band that only started playing in 1999 as a reaction to the death of eldest daughter, Shelly, from respiratory failure at age 20. The family attended a local bluegrass festival to lift their spirits, and on the way home, Jere said, "What we really need right now is to do something special with our kids. Let's start a bluegrass group." Today, all six band members pull their creative ideas together to form a sound and style that is unmistakably Cherryholmes.