Cherryholmes, the family bluegrass band from Los Angeles, return to the Chicago area Friday night for the second time this year; they’re playing the Dorothy Menker Theater at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills. The group recently released its third album, Don’t Believe (Skaggs Family), another impressive collection of high-energy modern bluegrass that, like its predecessors, emphasizes ensemble interplay and sweet vocal harmonies.

The gospel song “The King as a Babe Comes Down” is just as treacly as the title would lead you to imagine, but by and large it’s a solid record–the only misstep I don’t think I’ll be able to forgive is “This Is My Son.” When I first heard it I did a double take and dug out the lyric sheet. It’s sung from the point of view of a parent whose son is serving in Iraq, and the chorus does indeed say what I was afraid it did: “‘Cause 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.” Banjo player Cia Cherryholmes, who wrote the song, is too young to have a child in the military, but that doesn’t excuse this kind of willful ignorance. I doubt I’ll ever be able to listen to this group with open ears again.

Also on Friday night, I’ll be making my monthly appearance on WBEZ’s Radio M, hosted by Tony Sarabia. The show runs from 9 till 11 PM, and I’ll turn up around 9:30, playing cuts from Brazil, Cuba, Algeria, and Chicago (by way of Gambia).

Today’s playlist:

DJ Dolores, 1 Real (Ziriguiboom/Crammed Discs)
Sharon Tandy, You Gotta Believe It’s . . .  (Big Beat)
Previte/Petrella/Salis, Big Guns (Auand)
Os Ipanemas, Call of the Gods (Far Out)
Marc Ribot, Exercises in Futility (Tzadik)