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State of Grace

The Holmes Brothers

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Album Review

The Holmes Brothers do what they do supremely well, taking all sorts of music and making it into gospel — a sort of musical equivalent of alchemy. There's more of it here, plenty of their own material, but with some absolutely glorious covers. They utterly re-imagine Cheap Trick's perky "I Want You to Want Me" as a piece of '50s gospel, make country-soul from "I Can't Help It If I'm Still in Love with You" (with a great vocal from Rosanne Cash), and do delicious things to a pair of Lyle Lovett tunes. It's good to hear so many covers, actually, not because their own material is weak (anything but!), but rather because they have a special sense of style and a way to extract things from a song that you'd never imagined, as they do with the chestnut "Bad Moon Rising." With a crack band — and a real tip of the hat goes to multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell — they're in top form here, and a few guests, like Levon Helm and Joan Osborne, help keep everything down-home and funky. The Holmes Brothers continue their series of small triumphs here.

Customer Reviews

Undig this hidden gem !

If I had a Boat, Bad Moon Rising, I can't help it if i'm still in love, God Will : actually all 14 songs are gems. Listen two three times and you are won over. The Holmes Brothers are on this disc gettin' very close to the Blind Boys of Alabama

Biography

Formed: 1980 in New York, NY

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Holmes Brothers' unique synthesis of gospel-inflected R&B harmonies, accompanied by good drumming and rhythm-based guitar playing, gives them a down-home rural feeling that no other touring roots music group can duplicate. Brothers Sherman and Wendell Holmes, along with drummer Popsy Dixon (the falsetto voice), are the group's core members, although they occasionally tour with extra musicians. All three harmonize well together. The Holmes Brothers are so versatile, they're booked solid every...
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State of Grace, The Holmes Brothers
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