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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

About 10 years ago the Cherryholmes Family took a trip to a bluegrass festival. That trip inspired them to pick up instruments and try their hand at writing songs. It started out just as fun but within five years the family found itself with a record deal and some awards. Now, the family band has just released its third CD, it's called "Cherryholmes III: Don't Believe." Our critic Meridith Ochs has this review.

MEREDITH OCHS: Playing bluegrass requires intense technical skill. With its fleet-finger picking of acoustic instruments, no amplifiers or electronic distortion to hide behind, and no drums to prop up the notes, you'd think it would take a lifetime to get really good at it. The Cherryholmes are one exception to the rule. Bluegrass wasn't always a big part of their lives, yet they reel off songs with such ease, it's hard to imagine that they haven't been playing for decades.

OCHS: For the Cherryholmes, bluegrass was more than just a pastime that became a bonafide career. It was catharsis for dealing with the death of their oldest child, Shelley. Shelley's passing led the Cherryholmes to take that road trip to their very first bluegrass festival, and playing together was a way to keep the family close. On their new CD, the band is still dealing with profound emotions through their music. Listen to this song by Cia Cherryholmes about a parent sending their child off to war.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. CIA CHERRYHOLMES: (Singing) This is my son, my only son. And I give him up for a people who don't care that they're free at the cost of his life. I understand now your sacrifice. This is my son, my only son…

OCHS: Since four members of the Cherryholmes are in their teens and early '20s, it's not surprising that their songs are often focused on the early strains of heartbreak. The group even picked out a cover song "Devil in Disguise," co-written by Gram Parsons, that adds an edge to their lovesick bluegrass.

(Soundbite of song "Devil in Disguise")

THE CHERRYHOLMES: (Singing) Well, the woman that like that, all she does is hate you. She doesn't know what makes a man a man.

OCHS: The song also gives the Cherryholmes family a chance to demonstrate their skill at that other bluegrass essential: harmonies, especially those that are genetically linked. There's no sound quite like family harmony, and you don't have to be in a band with your family to appreciate that.

(Soundbite of song "Devil in Disguise")

THE CHERRYHOLMES: (Singing) She's a devil in disguise. You can see it in her eyes. She's telling dirty lies. She's a devil in disguise, in disguise.

BLOCK: The CD from the Cherryholmes is called 'Cherryholmes III: Don't Believe.' You can listen to songs from the album at nprmusic.org. Our reviewer Meridith Ochs is a talk show host and DJ at Sirius Satellite Radio.

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