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State of Grace

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Editors’ Notes

The Holmes Brothers draw from blues, country, and soul, but all their music has a gospel feel, due mainly to the timbre and sincerity of their rich, three-part harmonies and their inspired song arrangements. For proof, listen to how they turn Cheap Trick’s power pop gem, “I Want You to Want Me,” into a heartfelt and mournful Sunday morning ballad. The three men – Sherman Holmes (bass), Wendell Holmes (guitar) and Popsy Dixon (drums) – also stamp their singular sound on other choice covers by Lyle Lovett, Hank Williams, George Jones, and John Fogerty, whose “Bad Moon Rising” gets the authentic Cajun treatment, complete with a two-step accordion shuffle and fiddle accompaniment. But they do more than interpret; the Brothers also write excellent songs of their own and their musicianship is equally adept – Wendell’s guitar solo on their slinky “Gasoline Drawers” is but one of many highlights. Joined by a superb cast of guest musicians that includes Larry Campbell, Levon Helm, Joan Osborne, and Rosanne Cash, State of Grace is another joyously soulful album by these gifted juke-joint veterans.

Customer Reviews

The Brothers Are Back

I'm a judge at the Blues Foundations annual International Blues Challenge. New bands/artist should listen to this cd over and over and over. The Holmes Brothers define authentic Americana. Listen to their take on Cheap Tricks' "I Want You To Want Me"...make sure you have played the original version first or you can recall it from memory...moving isn't it...beyond words, huh? Standout's: "Three Gray Walls" with the lilting melody of the pedal steel; the funky orginal tune "Gasoline Drawers" is funny in it's declaration of love and devotion (sweet guitar solo by Wendell Holmes); the rollicking "Those Memories of You" smokes! Joan Osborne Joins the brothers here and she is an artist who won't changer her style when singing gospel, soul or blues. Osborne interprets and blends material with her own voice as opposed to changing her voice to sound more "soulful" or "blusey." On this cut, the musicians hammer out gospel, honky-tonk and country driving the blues nail in throughout it's 3 minutes; "Standing in the Need of Love" showcases Wendell Holmes' raw guitar frets, they remind me of the electrified coarseness of a Muddy Waters; no one writes a more soulful song than Lyle Lovett, his "God Will" in the hands of the Brothers somehow sounds even more soulful. These gentlemen have chosen some great songs to cover, they then incorporated original songs every bit their equal. This CD is phenomenal....

Great Sound, Eclectic Selections

I've loved the Holmes Brothers ever since they blew me away during their amazing concert at the West Kortright Center in the Northern Catskills in 2005. I find their sound deeply enjoyable and the eclecticism of their song choices deeply interesting. Their cover of "Everything Is Free" (Gillian Welsh's masterpiece) is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever encountered--but that's on a different recording. This new album is full of pleasures, large and small. Great covers of Elvis Costello's perpetually apt "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding?", Lyle Lovett's "If I Had a Boat," Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me," and Dolly Parton's "Those Memories of You" provide an inkling the Holmes Brothers' fascinating range of musical interests and talent for devising creative, thoughtful arrangements that make you hear even the most familiar songs anew. The sweet duet with the magnificent Rosanne Cash--song by Willie Nelson--is an added bonus.

THese guys are the real thing

I love The Holmes Brothers!!!! There are not many great traditional/real bluesmen left and these guys are not to be missed. The most underrated blues band ever.

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...
Full Bio