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Cherryholmes comes together

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, August 18, 2010

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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For a bluegrass band like Cherryholmes, the setting - the courtyard of one of the grandest museums in the entire U.S. was atypical. So without a "typical" audience there to lend support, one could argue that the sextet was up against it. No matter, though, because the family band showed why it is one of the best out there.

Cherryholmes has been touring behind "IV Common Threads," which continues showing the group making progress, but their live act does them far more justice.

The voices - an extremely key ingredient to what makes Cherryholmes tick - come alive far more in concert than on CD. They took turns on lead vocals with harmonies and backing vocals an ever-present part of the mix.

Cia Cherryholmes remains an excellent singer. She possessed a pretty voice and was the focal point vocally. But she was not alone during the 95-minute show.

Her sister Molly, now 16, has grown tremendously as a lead singer. She took ownership of the songs far more than she used to due to the development of her voice. Mother Sandy's vocals did not come off as well on CD, but live, her voice, which gave a different feel simply because she's decades older and weathered, worked in juxtaposition to her family. And her yodeling on Swiss Yodel contributed to the liveliness of the night. Jere (he got rid of his long beard , looking less ZZ Topish these days) did a good job in handling lead vocals on the murder song, Red Satin Dress.

Guitarist Skip Cherryholmes took some turns on lead, and while his singing was not up to the quality of other family members, he held his own.

As an added treat, Sandy Cherryholmes clogged away towards the end of the night, which was not only a crowd pleaser for sure, but varied the sound.

They also delved into more straightforward country and jazz sounds with songs like and Minor Swing, nods to Djano Rinehart from BJ Cherryholmes on mandolin and Skip on acoustic guitar.

The common thread for this group was that no matter where they performed, the songs, singing and playing all came together.