Friday, October 22, 2010

Bluegrass Festival with Sandy Cherryholmes!

Welcome to the "Seasons of Humility" Bluegrass Festival! Today we are hosting Sandy Cherryholmes of the bluegrass band Cherryholmes! Here's a little bit of background about Sandy from their website:

"Sandy 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. From hard hitting bluegrass gospel to old-time mountain and country tunes, she does it all. Her yodeling, and her step dancing are real crowd pleasers. Sandy is also a great harmony singer and proficient song writer, and enjoys writing gospel music."

Sandy, Jere, their two sons (B.J. and Skip), and their two daughters (Cia and Molly) make up the band that is Cherryholmes. Here's a brief description of the band:

"With their roots based in bluegrass, Celtic, and jazz music, Cherryholmes has stormed to the top of the music world since winning the 2005 IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Award for Entertainer of the Year."

To find out more about the band, click HERE to visit their website.

And now I am very excited to introduce you all to Sandy Cherryholmes!

Amber: Welcome, Sandy! How did you and your family become interested in bluegrass music?

Sandy: Jere and I stumbled upon a bluegrass radio show in California many years ago. We tuned in every Saturday morning. It was a lot of fun to listen to. After our daughter Shelly passed away (March 12, 1999), we took the family to a local bluegrass festival. We had a great time. Jere thought the music would be fun to play and easy enough for the youngest to catch on to. He said we should start a family bluegrass jam. I began working with them during the day (they were home-schooled) and we would jam at night with Jere. The kids picked it up quickly. We spent many memorable evenings jamming in our living room.

Amber: What is it like being in a band as a family? Do you feel that it draws you closer together?

Sandy: It is very special playing music as a family. There is a certain chemistry that occurs within a family. We play off each others energies. The music has taken us to different parts of the world. We have shared so many experiences together--bad and good (mostly good).

Amber: It is obvious in your music that you are a very close-knit group.

What is your favorite song that you (or one of the members of your family) have written and why is it your favorite?

Sandy: "This is My Son" written by Cia is probably the most special of our songs. We sincerely pray for and support our men and women in uniform who sacrifice for our freedoms. This song was written to acknowledge that the families they leave behind are making their own sacrifices as well.

Amber: That is a beautiful song, and one that has blessed me very much, as well!

What is your favorite place that you have visited while on tour?

Sandy: I love going to the UK, but I have to say that the Bluegrass Cruise is my favorite event. We've been to the Carribean about 6 times. There's something about the combination of bluegrass music, friends, ocean breeze, and turquoise water that makes for a perfect bluegrass experience. We go every February.

Amber: Oh, what I wouldn't give to join you! Sounds delightful.

Being in the music industry, do you prefer performing live or do you prefer the process involved in recording a CD?

Sandy: We make our living on the road. Our mainstay is the live performance. We enjoy making friends. The recording process takes only a few weeks and occurs every 1 to 1-1/2 years. It is another great dimension of the business. The tricky part is that touring and recording have to be juggled to happen at the same time. Sometimes we have returned from a 10 or 12 hour drive, slept a few hours and headed for the studio. We may put in three 12 hour days of recording, and then meet the bus for an 8 or more hours drive to the next show. It isn't all glamorous! Recording is very stressful, but the finished product is very gratifying.

Amber: Tying in with the title of this blog, “Seasons of Humility,” do you ever struggle with humility now that Cherryholmes as a band has become so popular? If so, do you have any advice you can share with us from your journey to be humble before God?

Sandy: That is a very good question. The goal of a musician is to be the best. An artist is constantly being photographed, constantly being praised. An artist who is known to be Christian is often scrutinized. We keep each other accountable. Our band was given to us as a gift. It was God's gift of healing. From the very beginning, we tried to do our best as He would expect us to do. But there have been certain things we wouldn't compromise to get ahead. We have prayed for God to close doors if we couldn't see if something was right or wrong. He has done just that. There are opportunities we have been denied because of our values. We are all content in that. We all have had times when we may have wanted a little more attention or praise than we were getting, but we have to put those feelings in their proper place in order to work together. I'm proud of the kids. They have never expressed bitter feelings because of a another sibling's accomplishments. We truly just feel thankful for everything we've been able to do. In our hearts, we are still that struggling family in L.A. who God gave a special blessing to. Perhaps that is the key--remembering where we came from helps us to see how much more we received than we deserved.

Thank you for sharing your heart and that wonderful advice! And I love that idea of "remembering where we came from," which is kind of what bluegrass music is, in a way--remembering our roots.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Sandy!
Cherryholmes creates phenomenal music, and it has been my pleasure to introduce you to my readers!

Now, readers, I hope you don't mind if I share a video I put together this past summer (one I already shared when I was posting about my trip to Washington D.C.). I think it would be fitting to share it again, since Sandy told us that the song I used in the slide show/movie ("This is My Son") is the band's most special song.

The music of Cherryholmes is touching, haunting, and beautiful. If you would like a chance to win an iTunes download of your choice of one of their CDs, leave a comment with your e-mail address saying you would like to be entered in the giveaway! A winner will be announced on Sunday, October 24.


Julia M. Reffner said...

Thanks, this is a relatively new genre to me and one we don't have too much of in NY.

Amber, How do you know Sandy and her family? What a neat connection.

Sandy, I love the thought of music as healing both for your band and for those who listen. That's the way I like to think of my writing. I know God will bless you as a band for your attitude in taking the narrow road and taking sacrifices.

Please enter me, Amber. Sounds like fun!


P.S. The word verification was "blesses." How appropriate for your blog, Amber and for this post :)

Amber Holcomb said...


No, I suppose bluegrass wouldn't be quite as prevalent in New York. ;) I don't know how close you are to Pennsylvania, but they're performing in Sellersville on January 14, 2011. (You can check out their website to see their full calendar.)

Anyway, I don't actually "know" Sandy and her family, though I would absolutely love to! ;) Actually, last year I saw that they were coming to Salem, and I hadn't heard of them before but I loved bluegrass, so I started listening to their music and went to see them perform. Wow!!! They are amazing, and I just love their dynamics and their songs! :D

Long story short, I decided to try e-mailing the band this summer to see if I could interview one of them for my blog--something a little different from interviewing only authors. Sandy responded to my e-mail and was really nice about the whole thing, and now I get to host her here on my blog! How awesome is that? :D

Thank you for stopping by, Julia, and I think you'll really love their music! It's a little bit different than traditional bluegrass, and it's GREAT! Good luck in the drawing. :)


P.S. Awwww, that's so sweet! :D Thank you for sharing that about the word verification, and for those sweet words!

Julie Lessman said...

What a fun interview and a fun idea, Amber!!! LOVED "This is my Son," and would definitely like to have my name thrown in the hat for this download. THANK YOU!!



Laura Frantz said...

LOVE this tribute to one of my favorite music genres:) Cherryholmes sounds wonderful, no pun intended! Very memorable ~ great music to write by...

I love the fact that you're a Bluegrass fan:) You offer such wonderfully eclectic, imaginative posts, Amber!!

Amber Holcomb said...


Thank you! :D I love bluegrass music, and I thought it would be fun to expand on Sandy Cherryholmes' interview and make a whole weekend party of it! :) I think you'll love the guest for tomorrow, as well.

Isn't "This is My Son" such a moving song? It certainly is beautiful. :)

I'm so glad you could stop by, and good luck in the drawing! ;) This is so fun since I won a CD from you today, as well (which I can't wait to listen to)!


Amber Holcomb said...


I'm so happy you could stop by, since I know we both share a love for bluegrass music. :D Cherryholmes is a great band, and I highly recommend their music!

Thank you for the compliment about my posts! *blushing* You're so sweet! I LOVE bluegrass soooo much--and I'll be talking about that more on Sunday. ;) Do you want me to enter you in the drawing? I'll just assume so at this point, since I know you're e-mail and I know you'd love their music. ;)


Kav said...

This is a totally new genre of music for me as well...being from waaaayyyy up here in Canada! I googled Cherryholmes and have just spent about fifteen minutes really enjoying the music. My favourites so far are 'Mary' and "This is My Son". I got goosebumps listening to both.

And what an inspiring story! Amber, you definitely have neat ideas. You've broadened my horizons in lots of ways!

Amber Holcomb said...


So fun! I'm glad you were inspired to go check out more of their music--it's fantastic! :D

Isn't their story inspiring? I'm so glad Sandy let me interview her. :) And that means so much to me that you like my ideas and you feel this blog has helped you broaden your horizons. What a compliment! Thank you for your support and friendship, Kav. :)

Oh, and did you want to be entered in the giveaway? Do you have iTunes? I'll just assume you're entering. ;)


Amanda Stanley said...

Great interview, Amber! Cherryholmes sounds so cool and I enjoyed learning about them and this style of music! Guess it’s an east coast thing because I, like Julia, don’t hear much bluegrass up here in RI ;) But, I think it’s really cool! I went to Cherryholmes website and listened to some snippets of a few of their songs. So far, my favorite is “This is My Son” and what I heard of “Broken” was nice, too. I will definitely have to check out more of their stuff! Thank you so much for introducing me to them :D

And, I have to say, I really enjoyed watching that video again :) That song is so perfect with it! I would LOVE to be entered in the contest!! Thank you for the chance!!

Praying you have a beautiful weekend, my friend! And, I will try to email you in a little while- another crazy day… prayerfully your week has been less hectic than mine…just praising the Lord that He always gets us through :)

Amanda Stanley

Michelle said...

Very enjoyable interview, Amber!

Growing up in eastern Kentucky, I've heard a lot of traditional bluegrass. I must admit it's not one of my favorite genres. However, I do like some of the modern bluegrass, Allison Krauss for instance.

I had never heard of Cherryholmes until you posted about them this summer. They are quite good. They also played the opening ceremonies of the World Equestrian Games here in Lexington at the end of Sept. I was able to watch them on TV, and enjoyed it a lot.

mchapman (at) windstream (dot) net

Amber Holcomb said...


So glad you enjoyed the interview! :D I'm happy I could introduce you to this band and the whole bluegrass genre. It's great!

I'm also glad it didn't bother you that I shared this video again! ;) That song is so moving! Good luck in the drawing!

I'm sorry you're week has been so hectic, and I'm sorry I haven't e-mailed you back yet! :( We'll catch up soon, I'm sure! Until then, praise be to the Lord that He is so patient with us and gives us the strength to face everything that comes up in our lives. :)

God bless you, my friend!


Amber Holcomb said...


Glad you enjoyed it! :D And no worries; we're allowed to have different tastes in music, I suppose. ;) But yes, I enjoy Alison Kraus's music, as well, and I think you'll love Cherryholmes if you like a more modern style of bluegrass!

Cherryholmes is indeed a great band, and I'm so happy I was able to introduce you to them! :D Hope you get to hear more of their music. Good luck in the drawing!


Vince said...

Hi Amber:

Bluegrass is my favorite music to hear at a live performance. We have many Bluegrass festivals in Oklahoma but I have not seen Cherryholmes. I listened to them on YouTube and I think they are very good. I’ll be looking for them in our area. My wife is not a big fan of country music so I was surprised when I learned she loved Bluegrass. She even just bought me a mandolin so I could perhaps play in the many Bluegrass jam sessions that pop up all the time where Bluegrass is played. Sometimes you just can’t tell who likes Bluegrass. It’s almost a lifestyle thing. I’d love to win a download of Cherryholmes.
Great interview.


Vince (at) swbell (dot) net

Amber Holcomb said...


Bluegrass is amazing to hear in a live performance, for sure! I was blessed with the opportunity to hear Cherryholmes live, and they are GREAT! I checked on their calendar on their website, and it said they would be in Oklahoma City, OK on January 28 and 29 of 2011. You can find out more at their website if you're interested. :)

That's neat that your wife bought you a mandolin! If I knew how to play an instrument, I would definitely want to play at bluegrass jam sessions. :) And I agree that it's "almost a lifestyle thing." What an interesting observation!

Good luck in the drawing!