Perhaps the rising star in the band is the youngest member, 16-year-old left-handed fiddler Molly Kate. With Goodbye, she makes her singing debut on a song she wrote. "She's written two other tunes that people don't credit her with writing because Cia was the one that sang them, but she wrote Tell Me Why and Heart As Cold As Stone," he says. "But she's writing from the stand point of, I need to write a song, and this is the subject matter, and she worked on Goodbye for a long time before she came up with the words, and there's a lot of words in that song. I think she wanted to write something that was a little bit more, oh, I don't know if it is R & B, but something a little bit more contemporary to her."
"It's just interesting watching them write. I think for Molly, the musical part is more what she feels than the actual lyric. Cia, on the other hand, is stronger lyrically, and I think that she has a way of writing lyrics that identify some feeling that someone might have in a situation like that, like putting herself in the place of the person that she is writing the song from."
Molly also exhibited another hidden talent, that of string arrangement. "What's kind of interesting is that I think she toyed around with it a little bit when they were writing the song, but when we got into the studio she expressed that she wanted to take that fiddle break, or whatever you want to call it, and she wanted to play some different parts," he says.
"When we got in the studio, she had either worked out in her head before or she worked them out on the spot and she laid (down) five fiddle passes and then about four octave fiddle passes. That's the way things stood for awhile, then she came to me and said, 'Do you think if we went down and rented a cello I could put a cello part on there?' She's never played a cello. I thought about it and was like, I don't know, maybe it would take a long time or something, but we went down into Nashville one evening and rented a cello, she brought it home and she sat in her room with a CD of the rough mix of the song, and she figured out three cello passes. She went in the next day in the recording booth and recorded them. She plays left-handed so she was playing the right-handed cello backwards. It came out real good, I know that, but I think it added another dimension to the music to have somebody be able to do that."
The string track sounded so good that Jere surprised her and made it a hidden track on the CD using only the tracks that Molly herself played. It was some coincidence that soon after recording that the band was contacted by their management and told that a symphony in Portland, Ore. wanted to do a concert with them.
"The concert will consist of our music, not the symphony's music, it will be our music," Jere says. "We acquired the services of a gentleman here in Nashville (who) is the principle conductor of the Nashville Symphony and sat down with him and figured out a whole program because he's done it before. He's done some work for Ricky Skaggs doing string parts and things like that, but this is going to be the whole symphony, all of the sections of the symphony. Since we agreed to that we have some other ones on the hook that want to do the same thing. We have our music, it's being scored right now, we have a program figured out of how the songs will go together and we'll do the first one in January."
But before taking their music to the audiences of symphonies, they will be taking their music to the country music audience. This Is My Son, a song written by Cia that draws parallels between the sacrifice of a mother sending her son to fight in the war and the sacrifice of Mary, mother of Jesus, is being remixed to add percussion and piano and sent to country radio.
"That was something I came up with when we actually sat down and discussed doing the record for a couple different reasons," he says. "One of them is that I think it is such a great song. It's already been sent over to Iraq, and we've gotten a lot of positive feedback from soldiers and family members and people like that, but we thought that this would give it an opportunity to get a much broader audience than just where we play. And also to introduce us a little bit closer to that crowd because, frankly, we enjoy playing a lot of different venues, and we like playing country venues. Of course, country music and bluegrass music are cousins. There's been some distance put between them over the last several years, but I think they belong together. This song has such a good message that I think being able to get it to a broader audience is a good thing."
The band also hopes to do that by playing more shows like their current tour of performing arts centers that are not generally known as bluegrass venues. But regardless of where they play, Cherryholmes says their goal is always to entertain.
"We're just out there to entertain people; we want people to have a good time. I was a regular working stiff, and I know there is nothing better than going to see some live entertainment. It gets your mind off of what's going on and where you are and at least for a short time you get to enjoy doing something different, and I always hope that that's the way we affect people."