Bluegrass fans have long embraced the combination of cute kids and family bands. The more cynical among us may recoil from the somewhat saccharine nature of these youthful congregations, but often times the kinds turn into powerful performers in their own right, who make a mark in the music after they outgrow the family band.
Cherryholmes may be the most recent example. Their initial appeal was of the cute kid variety, though the band proved to be groundbreakers in modern bluegrass before the late teen and early twenties sibs decided to strike out on their own. Now B.J. is playing fiddle with Daily & Vincent, Skip has started his own group, and Cia is writing and performing with her husband as Stetson & Cia.
Currently, The Bankesters are mining that same vein, and it will be interesting to see where they go in the next ten years. Though often forgotten, the great and all-powerful Ron Stewart of The Boxcars also got his start as Fiddlin’ Ronnie Stewart playing with his family band as a pre-teen.
We recently ran across another young family outfit, The Thomas Family Band, a Gospel group from north Florida who have released a CD entitled If You Believe.
Parents Michael and Amy Thomas play guitar and bass respectively, with sons Ethan (14) on fiddle, and Joel (12) on banjo. The littlest Thomas, Sara Beth (5), plays mandolin and sings with her parents.
Here’s a video of the title track from the album at their church in Florida.
Nicely done. You can find additional videos on the Thomas Family web site.