In its relatively brief career, Cherryholmes has made a habit of introducing international audiences to the distinctly regional sounds of bluegrass music.
"Since our music goes from traditional to a new edge, which I think brings in a younger crowd, we've represented this music all over the world," the family group's matriarch, Sandy Cherryholmes, said Tuesday. "We've played it in Japan, we've played it in France, the U.K. several times, the Caribbean and up in Nova Scotia.
"We've had a great reception, and when people hear it, they really enjoy it and respond to it."
Saturday night, Cherryholmes will play in the heart of the Bluegrass to a global audience: in the stands at the opening ceremonies of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park and in homes in Central Kentucky and Europe, via TV.
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The band shares the WEG opening ceremony's bill with a diverse group of artists, including opera star Denyce Graves, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and Irish tenor Ronan Tynan.
Cherryholmes will play a key role: anchoring a bluegrass jam that will accompany the "parade of nations" segment of the ceremonies, in which athletes enter the stadium Olympic-style, and performing a new song, Horse and Man, composed by opening ceremony creative director Peggy Stamps.
"It's a fun song," Sandy said. "The demo they gave us is a country demo, so the style was a little different. We've translated it into more of a heavy bass, bluegrass-type number. It's got a great beat, it's an anthem for the accomplishments of horse and man, and we've had a lot of fun with it."
The band is based in California, but Kentucky has played a big role in the group, which formed after the death of Sandy and husband Jere's oldest daughter in 1999. They went to a bluegrass festival with their other four children to get their minds off the tragedy, and they were so impressed with the dynamics of family bands, they formed one themselves.
"One of the first places we went to showcase was at the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) that was at the time held at the Galt House in Louisville," Sandy said, modestly not pointing out that Cherryholmes has since won the IBMA entertainer of the year award and been nominated twice.
She also cited other bluegrass festivals the family has played and its respect for the music's roots here.
"There's a lot of American history in it," Sandy said. "And we love the music because it is American, it is our cultural music, and it seems to be seated in Kentucky."