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August 28, 2007

The Cherries on top, ‘Salvation’ for Coliseum

BY C. ERIC BANISTER & MAT HERRONWednesday, Aug. 29cherryholmesLouisville holds many memories for Cherryholmes. The family band, originally from California, later Arizona and now Nashville, made the trek several times during the eight years the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual convention called the Galt House home.“At IBMA, it’s a totally different thing, that’s why they say IBMA stands for ‘I Been Mostly Awake,’” family patriarch Jere Cherryholmes says, referring the ubiquitous late-night jams there. “We remember from the first time we came, it was nonstop. It wasn’t anything for us to be showcasing at 3 o’clock in the morning and jamming going on all night, so it was really a happening.”The conference moved to Nashville in 2005, and there, Cherryholmes received the IBMA Entertainer of the Year award. At the time, the band had only played professionally for 3-1/2 years.The family’s new release, Cherryholmes II: Black and White, shows continued growth. The press has noticed: Black and White debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard bluegrass chart, only the 10th time that has happened in chart history.Has the fam finally taken aim? “We have our sights set on doing everything we can. We don’t invest all of our energies into something like that, because awards like that are pretty much a popularity contest, who’s hot at the time,” Jere says. “We realize that when they settle on the top five nominees, any one of the five is deserving of the award, and we just hope it’s us!”Part of doing everything they can is playing everywhere they can, including music festivals here and abroad. The band floored audiences at a recent country music festival in France. “There were probably about 10-12,000 people that were out when we were playing, and we didn’t start until after midnight, and they kept us on stage until after 2 o’clock in the morning. They just love bluegrass,” Cherryholmes says.Aside from a loaded tour schedule, the band tries to bring other elements into their music that you might not see elsewhere.“We have the distinct advantage of being the only band in bluegrass right now that carries twin fiddlers, and good twin fiddlers, by the way,” Cherryholmes says with a bit of fatherly pride. He’s speaking of son B.J. and daughter Molly Kate.Energy and variety are two hallmarks of their typical sets. Cherryholmes calls it “a cross between a football game and a Chinese fire drill,” and adds, “Our shows are exactly that: They’re a show, more so than just a concert. There’s a synergy that goes in our family because we live together, we play together.”Also featured on the WFPK Waterfront Wednesday stage tonight is Adrienne Young & Little Sadie. Young, a blonde bombshell whose earliest musical touchstone was the Grateful Dead, uses her celebrity to promote the practice of sustainable agriculture.“I always felt that food has a consciousness, and the closer to home it’s grown, and the less resources used to get it to our family’s table, the higher the energy it contains. And that’s on a spiritual level.”Kentucky Sassafras, an impressive outfit of young pickers from near Louisville, led by the huge voice of 17-year-old Chloe Blayne, open the event. It kicks off at 5 p.m., weather permitting, at Waterfront Park’s Wharf (129 River Road). The concert, as always, is free. Go to www.wfpk.org for more details. And visitors should be advised of a new policy: Dogs are no longer allowed.Friday, Aug. 31Guitarist and singer Ryan Patterson isn’t one to treat a mic like a megaphone, and not offer an uplifting message to the terrors of the world in which we live. On No Salvation, Coliseum’s long-awaited debut for Relapse Records, Patterson, drummer Chris Maggio and bassist/backing vocalist Mike Pascal hammer 13 songs of frustration, external and internal, but tempered by visions of a better world.And that, Patterson says, is the overarching point to the music: “The songs are usually inspired by somethingcoliseum that is really bothering me, personally, locally or in the world, on any level,” he said.“But I don’t ever feel like raging on about something if you have no hope, or no positive outcome, because otherwise, it’s just complaining. If it’s something personal, it’s always, ‘How am I going to get it out there? How am I gonna move beyond it?’”No Salvation was built over two weeks in Salem, Mass., at God City Studios with friend and producer Kurt Ballou. Patterson’s heavy riffage, and Maggio and Pascal’s thundering rhythms call to mind Motorhead and late ’70s punk, early ’80s thrash. A monster tour with stoner metal masters High on Fire, as well as Mono and Panthers, kicks off mid-September and runs until Halloween, and promises to introduce Coliseum’s style to a whole new set of fans.Coliseum celebrates its record release Friday at Headliners (1386 Lexington Road, 584-8088). Young Widows and Engineer open. Contact the writers at mherron@leoweekly.com