Archive for the The Holmes Brothers Category

The Holmes Brothers – Promised Land 1997

Posted in BLUES, The Holmes Brothers on December 2, 2010 by whoisthemonk

The Holmes Brothers – Promised Land  1997


The Holmes Brothers have honed their blend of rock, blues, gospel and soul to perfection on this, their fifth release. Whether it’s Popsy Dixon’s stunning interpretation of Tom Waits’ “Train Song,” the soul stirring harmonies on the gospel standard “I Surrender All,” or an original, gritty guitar workout like “Start Stoppin’,” there is simply not a bad song on this album. The Holmes Brothers continue to defy all classifications,
except one: Damn Good Music.
By Steve McMullen,All Music Guide.
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 summer at folk, blues, gospel, and jazz festivals, as they play a style of music that is a gumbo of church tunes, blues, country, funk, reggae, roots rock, and soul. Although people like Bo Diddley and especially Jimmy Reed were early influences on Wendell and Sherman, gospel music also played an important role in their respective upbringings.

Although they’d been performing in Harlem for years, the Holmes Brothers — originally from Christchurch, VA — have only recently become international touring stars. Thanks to a fair deal at Rounder Records, the group released five recordings for that label, beginning with a 1989 release, In the Spirit. When this album made waves and got them off and running on the festival and club circuit around the U.S. and Europe, they followed it up two years later with Where It’s At (1991), Soul Street (1993), and Promised Land (1997). The group’s career has been aided by the interest of people like Peter Gabriel, who recruited them for his WOMAD (world music) festivals in England and who also recorded them in a gospel context on the album Jubilation, for his Real World subsidiary of Virgin Records in 1992.

Joan Osborne was also a supporter of the group. Early in her career Osborne befriended the Holmes Brothers and eventually took them on tour as her backing band when she opened for Bob Dylan in 1997. She produced the group’s first release on Alligator Records, Speaking in Tongues, in 2001. The group then released the seminal Simple Truths in 2004. Three years later, State of Grace, an album of both originals and covers (including ones by Hank Williams, Cheap Trick, Lyle Lovett, and Elvis Costello), came out.
By Richard Skelly & Al Campbell, All Music Guide.
Wendell Holmes,
Sherman Holmes,
Popsy Dixon
01. Promised Land 3:34
02. Start Stoppin’ 3:20
03. Train Song 2:58
04. Easy Access 3:34
05. You’re Good For Me 3:18
06. You Got to Go 3:40
07. And I Love Her 4:50
08. There’s a Train 3:58
09. Got Myself Together 4:54
10. Thank God For You 3:36
11. The New and Improved Me 3:54
12. I Surrender All 4:42

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