Cherry Holmes IV - Common Threads

CHERRYHOLMES IV
COMMON THREADS
Skaggs Family Records
69890220212

On their latest release, the Cherryholmes completely leave behind their origins as a uniquely talented bluegrass family-band act and step into new musical forms that may best be called alt.grass. Recalling some of the sophisticated sonic forms and modern lyric and melodic approaches pioneered by modern bluegrass bands like Infamous Stringdusters and Cadillac Sky, the Cherryholmes under the eye of producer Ben Issacs have crafted a decidedly daring and bold statement here.

The band explores some highly personal territory on the topics of love, betrayal, and deception through the dark moody songs penned by Cia Cherryholmes, who shows here that she’s becoming a leader in modern country songcraft. Her sultry “Just You” could easily break out as a major country hit. As always, the band relies heavily on contemporary gospel forms for some of its most rousing material, including the hard-driving “Standing” and the deep, groovepowered “Changed In A Moment.” And, it wouldn’t be a Cherryholmes project without highpowered instrumental work from Skip on guitar, Cia on banjo, and the soaring twin fiddles of Molly and B.J., especially on the closing track “Tattoo Of A Smudge.”

It’s certainly been a long road for this band, from cutesy and “How’d those kids do that?” to the mature statement presented here. Whether longtime fans will come along for the ride is yet to be seen, but it’s certain from Common Threads that the Cherryholmes won’t be resting on their much deserved laurels anytime soon. (Skaggs Family Records, P.O. Box 2478, Hendersonville, TN 37077, www.skaggsfamilyrecords.com.) DJM