The music on this 55 minute disc will touch your soul and the lyrics will challenge you spiritually. Sherman Holmes, Wendell Holmes and Willie "Popsy" Dixon have been more commonly known as the Holmes Brothers since 1980. They smoothly combine soul, blues, gospel and R&B to create some of the most funked-up music available today. Sherman lays the foundation with his bass while Popsy completes the rhythm on drums. Wendell handles both electric and acoustic guitars and the piano. All 3 tackle lead vocals throughout the 13 tracks which includes 4 originals and 3 Ben Harper songs.
"Homeless Child" features a hypnotizing rhythm and great harp work of guest Andy Breslau. Catherine Russell adds the comforting touch of her mandolin on "Jesus Got His Hooks In Me". There is so much energy and funk on "Can't No Grave Hold My Body Down" that nothing will hold your body down from moving to it's beat. Popsy sings enthusiastically with his falsetto voice on the resurrection of Christ tune. "King Jesus Will Roll All Burdens Away" highlights Wendell's surly and coarse vocals. Sherman delivers the lyrics of "New Jerusalem" with the conviction of a Christian missionary. His baritone voice is also hot on the title track. The tune features a catchy chorus and is hit single material. It has the kind of chorus that bands like the Rolling Stones have been borrowing from roots music for years.
Many will recognize the remake of the Gamble and Huff hit, "Love Train". It has a slower tempo than most versions yet it radiates with its amazing backing vocals. A Bob Dylan song hasn't had so much intense energy as the Brothers version of "Man of Peace". The tune even captures Wendell letting rip on guitar solo. Things conclude and climax with 2 traditionals performed back-to-back with the power of a full gospel choir at a Sunday service.
It's hard to believe the astounding disc was produced by pop superstar Joan Osborne. Her heart-felt revelation liner notes testify to her commitment and conviction to the band as both fan and friend. She joins forces with Catherine Russell and Maydie Miles to become The Precious Three. They are a pure delight as gospel choir-like backing vocalists on all tracks.
This is contemporary roots music to rejoice to. It is not laced with heavy guitar solos or wailing harp solos. Its resonating 3-part vocal harmonies and rhythms will have you shouting from the mountain-tops. Comes with expectations for winning plenty of awards.
Canada: For CDs and information, contact: Tel (780) 468-6423. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This review is copyright © 2001 by Tim Holek, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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