After a long Wednesday shuffling around the Nashville Convention Center, it came time for one of the most anticipated musical performances of the week. Amidst all the after-hour showcase madness which included everyone from Jett’s Creek to Junior Sisk, and Larry Cordle to Edgar Loudermilk was a crowded room on the second floor featuring a group no one in the world had ever heard before. The hallway was shoulder-to-shoulder with anxious fans waiting to squeeze their way into the tiny room. Following an all-star Mashville Brigade performance featuring Josh Williams, Darrell Webb, Randy Barnes, Terry Baucom, and Jim Van Cleve, the crowd anxiously awaited the debut of The Skip Cherryholmes Quintet!
Formerly billed as The Cherryholmes Brothers, the band’s name was changed following the departure of BJ Cherryholmes to fill the vacant fiddle spot with Dailey and Vincent due to Jesse Stockman’s wrist injury. In addition to Skip on guitar, the band features Travis Anderson on bass, Gena Britt on banjo, Jamie Harper on fiddle, and Chris Harris on mandolin. Many grassers may recognize Chris Harris, as he used to play with Dale Ann Bradley, and continues to do shows with Larry Cordle and Ronnie Bowman.
The band kicked off their premiere with a J.D. Crowe classic, You Are What I Am. Surprisingly, it was one of only two covers the group did (both from the J.D. Crowe catalog). The Quintet looked very nervous and anxious as they started their set, for this was the first time ever where all five members had picked together, including practices! It was not evident, for they seemed to be in sync much of the performance. The first-time jitters quickly fell to the floor as the band came into their own on stage.
Even at 21, Skip is still a veteran in the industry, and knows that a key to success for groups such as Blue Highway, Dailey and Vincent, and Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers (just to name a few), is having vocal variety, i.e., more than one strong vocalist. In this five-piece band, four of the members sang lead at one point during the show!
Another strength of this group is having great original material. This a must when it comes to success in the bluegrass industry, and is something many seasoned groups have trouble with. Their eight-song set consisted of two Crowe covers, only one song by the Cherryholmes family, and five originals!
Instrumentally, The Quintet was driven along by Chris’ fiery mandolin, Gena’s crackerjack banjo-playing, Jamie’s mournful fiddle, Travis’ solid bass, and of course Skip Cherryholmes’ jaw-dropping guitar picking.
Some highlights of the show were the catchy Poor Boy and the lonesome-sounding Blue Kentucky Wind. The true treat was the closing number, sung by Chris Harris. The original tune, Quiet My Love, is an addictive uptempo song which the group will be pushing for airplay once their debut album is released.
Included is a short sampler of this killer tune, written and sung by Chris Harris.
Quiet My Love: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/quiet_my_love.mp3]
The Skip Cherryholmes Quintet will soon be a force to be reckoned with on the bluegrass circuit for fans both old and young. Their sound is more traditional than the Cherryholmes family’s was, but there is still a modern flair to their style.