>Bluegrass at the Ryman: Cherryholmes and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

>Two weeks ago, I was blown away by the bluegrass show at the Ryman. Great music, great acts and a great time.

This week’s show topped it.

The double-bill featured two great bluegrass bands. The opening act was Cherryholmes and then we were treated to Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.

I heard Doyle’s group last year and had high expectations for this year’s performance. And, just like last year, Doyle’s show was great. He and the band all had a great time on stage and it’s interesting to see the various personalities. The give and take of good-natured barbs was a show’s highlight as was Doyle and company’s rendition of “Four Walls.” There were three new members to the band but listening, you wouldn’t have known that a couple of them were performing as part of the group for the first time publically.

But the treat of the night was Cherryholmes. I can see why the bluegrass and the music world is so in love and abuzz for this group. The group is a family who is extremely talented. And the thing that blows my mind is they hadn’t picked up an instrument or played together until a few years ago. The group came together out of a family tragedy and from what I understand they heard bluegrass songs played at the eldest sister’s funeral and decided to honor and remember her by playing.

Well, let me just say the concert was high energy, high octane and brimming with talent. It’s one of those where every song was great and it’s hard to figure out exactly which one I like best. In the running are several–from the youngest daughter, Molly Kate’s stunning rendition of “Sweet Hour of Prayer” (only disappointment: it’s not on CD yet…hopefully the next one!) to the fun “Don’t Give Your Heart to a Knoxville Girl” or the encore song “He Goes to Church” about a man who starts going to church after the death of his wife so he make sure he is reuninted with her in heavy. Sandy Lee, the mother, yodeled, Jere (the father) entertained with pleas to buy their CDs, brothers B.J. and Skip both sang well and played a wide variety of instruments. To hear the two fiddle players “duel” at times was incredible. And I haven’t even talked about how during one number the siblings and mom all danced.

All that and I haven’t even talked about Cia Leigh who has a strong, rich singing voice, only topped by her younger sister in “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” The title track from their latest CD “Black and White” is haunting and most of that is due to the sheer incredible depth and power of Cia Leigh’s vocals.

And the way the family’s voices blended so well in many of the songs…

I could go on and on, but I won’t. It was an incredible, incredible show with two great bluegrass talents. If either group is anywhere near you, I highly recommend getting out to a show. I noticed that the Ryman wasn’t sold out for this show and all I know is a lot of y’all in middle Tennessee missed a heck of show.

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