>Bluegrass at the Ryman: Bradley Walker and Cherryholmes

>Of all the concerts in this year’s Bluegrass Night series, it was this one I was looking forward to the most. Last year, Cherryholmes blew me away and after spending the last year trying to wear out their CDs, I was really looking forward to seeing them in concert again.

And this year’s show was as good, if not better than last year’s.

Another year of practice, working and playing together has only improved Cherryholmes. And they were pretty fantastic to begin with. A few weeks ago, Vince Gill talked about the ability to harmonize within families and no where is that more evident than here. The entire family’s ability to blend voices, find the right notes and harmonize is just one of the things that makes this group such a sensation. The other is that everyone in the group is amazingly talented and can play a wide variety of instruments–and play them well.

I was also impressed by the selection of songs for this year’s show. There were a few old favorites from last year, but most of the show was new material, hopefully a lot of it from their third CD due out in September. I didn’t get the feeling that the group has a set they do, so much as they have a large range of numbers to choose from. Of course, the fact that they chose one of my favorites “Heat of the Morning” to play didn’t hurt things at all.

I could go on and on about how great they were and how I didn’t want the show to end. A fantastic show and I can only hope they’ll be back next year.

Opening the show for Cherryholmes was Bradley Walker, a singer I’d never heard of before. But his set made me sit up and take notice. Walker has a strong, solid voice and I found myself wondering if he was related to Clay Walker. Their voices do have some similiarities. I couldn’t find anything on his web site confirming this, but you never know. Walker’s songs were all great and you had the feeling that this was a guy just out here, honored to be there and living his dream. It showed in his songs and peformance.

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