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Cherryholmes

The six members of the Cherryholmes family have been making music together commercially only since 1999. At that time, half of its youthful members hadn't even picked up an instrument.

Five years later this high-energy Nashville-based band was named 2005 International Bluegrass Music Association's Entertainer of the Year.

The group's first commercial release, "Cherryholmes," was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. The dynamic bluegrass band will be in town for a performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theatre, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford.

The band features the family members performing on fiddle, banjo, guitar and mandolin.

All six band members pull their creative ideas together to form their own new brand of bluegrass music. Everyone takes a turn singing lead and showcasing their abilities. Their live shows include twin fiddles, Irish step dancing, classic country yodeling, and old-time clawhammer banjo in addition to their bluegrass tunes.

Besides their touring performances, Cherryholmes have also become regulars on the famous Grand Ole Opry.

The family's second CD, "Cherryholmes ll: Black and White," on Skaggs Family Records, was released in June 2007 and opened at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Other albums include "Dressed for Success" (2002) and "Still a Little Rough Around the Edges" (2001). Their newest release is "Cherryholmes III: Don't Believe."

Jere (Pop) is father, leader, manager, and emcee for Cherryholmes. He plays the upright bass hard and fast, sensitive and smooth, while singing lead with a "rough around the edges" old country style. His talent as an arranger has been important in shaping the band's signature style.

In a press release, Jere explains his family's musical philosophy. "People say that 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."

Sandy Lee (Mom) plays a hard-hitting mandolin style and driving rhythm that keep the band's momentum going. For special numbers, she switches to the clawhammer banjo. She is the most versatile singer in the band with a voice that ranges from hard-hitting bluegrass gospel to old-time mountain and country tunes, as well as yodelling and singing harmony. Sandy is also a song writer for the group.

Cia Leigh started with the band on the guitar in 1999 at age 15, but by October 2000 she had switched to the banjo. Influenced by the styles of J.D. Crowe, Don Reno, and Jim Mills, she has developed a fast, powerful style of her own. Her banjo plays a major role in the band's hard driving style. Cia is quickly moving to the top as a vocalist as well. Singing harmony, her range is tenor and high baritone. Her voice has been featured on several other industry projects.

B. J. began playing fiddle in 1999 at age 11. His fiddle playing has been compared to fiddlers such as Stuart Duncan and Aubrey Haney, and has performed with some of bluegrass's finest. B. J. also sings lead and harmony vocals for the group.

Skip began playing mandolin in the band in 1999 at age 9, but in November 2000, he was asked to take over on the guitar. In only a few months he was playing rhythm and flat-picking. Skip charms the audience with his guitar picking, singing, and showmanship. His aggressive rhythm style characterizes the Cherryholmes drive and energy.

Molly Kate began playing in 1999 at age 6 and debuted at the Grand Ole Opry at age 7. This young, left-handed fiddler brings an aggressive, soulful style and song-writing abilities to the group's sound. She sings lead and harmony vocals in the group.

Tickets are $17-$30.

See craterian.org or call 779-3000.

The family band Cherryholmes will bring its high-energy bluegrass sound to the Craterian. - Photo courtesy of Columbia Artists management, Inc